The new Saracens chief executive, Ed Griffiths, has denied working as a cricket agent, following claims he has been reported to the England and Wales Cricket Board.
Griffiths has rejected any wrongdoing after reports in a national newspaper that the ECB is investigating a possible conflict of interest over his consultancy role with Middlesex.
The former South Africa Rugby Union adviser has rejoined Saracens to help steer the Premiership club through the salary cap scandal that resulted in them accepting the punishment of relegation at the end of this season.
“I am not an agent, I have never acted as an agent and I have never received a commission to work as an agent,” Griffiths told the PA news agency.
“I have worked as a consultant acting for Middlesex for the last three years, helping players there with areas beyond cricket, and that’s involved doing lots of things that would perhaps in other circumstances be thought of as things an agent would do. But I have only ever been acting on behalf of and for Middlesex.”
Griffiths played a key role in South Africa hosting the 1995 Rugby World Cup before his first stint as Saracens CEO between 2008 and 2015. He has returned to Saracens to help the English club deal with the fallout from the salary cap breaches that will lead to relegation at the end of the current campaign.
An independent panel’s 103-page judgment into Saracens’ salary cap breaches this week condemned the club’s “egregious” conduct. Saracens were found guilty of “reckless” failure to comply with the £7m salary cap in the initial investigation that led to a £5.36m fine and a 35-point deduction.
Saracens have since been handed automatic relegation over failure to meet salary cap regulations for the current campaign.
Griffiths insisted there has been no conflict of interest in his dealings with Middlesex, adding: “I have never received a commission or a payment from a player at all. I have contacted the ECB and spoken to the head of integrity about this.”
Premiership Rugby’s handling of the Saracens salary cap scandal could be the subject of a parliamentary inquiry. The Conservative MP Damian Collins, who is standing for re-election as chair of the digital, culture, media and sport select committee, has criticised Premiership chiefs for allowing the crisis to unfold and says it is “right to challenge” how they handled it.
“The situation at Saracens has clearly been a problem for a long time,” he said. “Things should never have been allowed to develop in the way they did and it’s right for people to challenge the Premiership as to why it didn’t take more effective action sooner.
“It has, though, now given Saracens the heaviest punishment it could, which gives a clear warning to others.”
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