English Premiership champions Saracens will be relegated from the top division of UK domestic rugby union at the end of the current season, after admitting it will fail to meet salary cap regulations.
The London club’s decision comes after Premiership Rugby in November handed Saracens a 35-point deduction and a fine in excess of £5m (€5.85m/$6.5m) for breaches of its salary cap rules.
The announcement brought to a close a probe into business partnerships between some of the London club’s players and its chairman Nigel Wray, who stepped down earlier this month. The charges, which related to the three seasons spanning 2016-17 to 2018-19, were brought in June following a nine-month investigation by Premiership Rugby, the organising body of the top division of English club rugby union.
An independent panel ruled that Saracens failed to disclose payments to players in each of the three seasons. In addition, the club was found to have exceeded the ceiling for payments to senior players in each of the three campaigns. The panel imposed a total fine of £5,360,272.31, along with the total deduction of 35 league points, which was applicable to the 2019-20 Premiership season.
Saracens has now decided to accept relegation to the second-tier Championship after admitting it would not meet the salary cap of £7m for 2019-20. The salary cap rules mean that breaches