Saracens players have been told the club will accept a further 35-point deduction that will effectively spell relegation from the Premiership.
The English and European champions were deducted 35 points and fined £5.4 million having been in breach of Premiership Rugby’s salary cap over the past three seasons. Rival clubs remain convinced that they are spending way over the £7m limit this season, by as much as £2m.
After a meeting of Premiership clubs on Tuesday night, Saracens were subsequently handed an ultimatum to prove they were compliant with the cap this season or face a further draconian punishment.
New chief executive Edward Griffiths was confident that he could trim the wage bill at first by offloading squad players and those coming towards the end of their contracts. However, with the majority of Premiership clubs spending up to the salary cap, that task proved far harder than he first imagined, particularly as few clubs were willing to grant Saracens any favours. Nor could Saracens simply release players from their contracts as severance payments would count towards the cap.
It seems that Saracens have now accepted their fate and told the players at a meeting on Friday they are certain to be playing in English rugby’s second tier next season. The second deduction would bring their points down to -42 points, which would put them 53 points away from safety, as it stands, with 14 matches left to play. Only a miracle could keep them in the division.
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