So, Saracens have just been dinged

For breaching the salary cap. Anyone know the details?

Rough reading around says arrangements with layers involving Companies House and the Land Registry.

So, what were they doing? Here’s a shareholding in a nice little earner to top up your wages? Here’s a reduced rate on your mortgage? What?

Nigel Wray as always been very – what’s the word I’m looking for, canny? – in his stock market dealings.

12 thoughts on “So, Saracens have just been dinged”

  1. Settles,a years long argument I have been having with my brother in law about the ability of Saracens to retain a disproportionate number of internationals and win everything
    Its always been the same .The dominant Welsh teams of the amateur period were not amateur and when the French were unbeatable people were known to leave League and go to Toulouse for an increase in earnings in the amateur code.
    I think Saracens are going to challenge the whole idea of a salary cap and I really think it might as well go ,why not follow football .
    Chelsea and ManCity are both either undergoing punishments under the fair pay rule but nI don`t see that stopping a club form becoming large and successful on its own steam is workable

    I`d like to see this blow the last cobweb away but its nice to see Saracens suffer

  2. They have been giving players houses and funding ‘businesses’ for them basically. It’s all been known about for a long time – the only surprise is that the Premiership has acted so strongly but I guess other owners were getting pissed off st wasting millions of their own because they couldn’t or wouldn’t compete with Wray. I assume they could see other problems – maybe even a breakaway league – if Sarries kept getting away with it, too. It’s also a precursor to ring fencing.

  3. As I understand it, the breach came because Saracens owner Nigel Wray co-invested with a few senior players via limited companies, most of which (I think) invested in property. These were deemed to constitute extra payments to players.

    It may be these were not genuine co-investments and they were structured so the players could take out profits at no risk. However, if they were genuine co-investments where the players and Wray equally or proportionately shared costs, risks and profits then Saracens might have a good argument that they do not constitute ‘payment’.

    There’s no info available about how Premiership Rugby has valued these arrangements for the purposes of including them as payments to players. Have they counted the players’ share of company profits, for example? What if a company loses money? Does the club then get to spend that amount on hiring an extra player? What constitutes a payment to a player?

    With so much at stake, it will be worth Saracens throwing some lawyers at it.

    Naturally, the other clubs are spilling pearls all over the drawing room. It does make me laugh to read the Exeter management getting all aggrieved over Saracens’ European cup wins, as if Exeter’s ‘big lads trundle the ball up until everyone dies of boredom’ strategy would succeed in Europe if they spent £1 billion on players.

    Disclosure: I am a Sale supporter and we’ve been spending well below the salary cap

  4. MC yes that’s my understanding too (Tigers fan, for my sins lately). The weirdest thing about it all is the names they gave some of these companies – I believe Farrell’s was called Faz Investments and Billy Vunipola’s was something like Vunprop. Obviously, giving them slightly more obscure names would not ultimately have been much protection against a proper investigation but there is a strong feeling that they were taking the piss. Unless they were trying to be clever and were imagining advancing the argument that, “Look, we weren’t even trying to hide!”

  5. If you are going to have something like a “salary cap” you may as well enforce it properly. It does seem that Saracens have been taking the piss royally for years.

  6. “The dominant Welsh teams of the amateur period were not amateur ”

    A Scottish international scrum half of the time commented that maybe he hadn’t been amateur either because if he had had a really good game the butcher would slip his wife a couple of extra lamb chops free.

  7. dearieme
    That’s what the wife told him, but the butcher was probably slipping her something else on a Saturday afternoon…

  8. “It may be these were not genuine co-investments and they were structured so the players could take out profits at no risk. However, if they were genuine co-investments where the players and Wray equally or proportionately shared costs, risks and profits then Saracens might have a good argument that they do not constitute ‘payment’.”

    If your boss agreed to buy half of the expensive house in London that you wanted to live in so you could be near your office, and didn’t charge you rent on his half, you don’t think that could be considered a disguised income payment? In that you’re receiving a benefit (bigger house than you could afford on your declared income) but not paying anything for it?

  9. Depends in how weighted the salary cap is towards improving competitiveness vs stopping clubs go bust I suppose

  10. Bloke in Lower Hutt

    Jeebus, is there not one aspect of League that Union won’t pinch, if it’s not 40-22 kicks, it’s going professional and rorting the salary cap rules. Why not just drop two players from each team, ditch line-outs and only give 4 points for a try and be done with it? Sheesh 😉

  11. Quick read of a DM article suggest:

    Saracens copied Gordon Brown and classed salaries as an investment, the Premiership ruled investments are not salaries

    Interesting to see contracts, did players become companies and sell shares of themselves to Saracens

    England (GB, UK?) Rugby has salary caps, RoI, France etc don’t – has to be all or none.

    Saracens appealing as fine ludicrously high

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