Saracens offloading players to comply with salary cap

Michael Rhodes

New Saracens CEO Ed Griffiths has admitted that Saracens would need to trim their wage bill in order to be compliant with the Premiership Rugby salary cap.

This suggests that the breach was more than a misunderstanding over co-investments by a handful of players, but regardless, it’s encouraging to see that they’ll be taking action rather than just continuing as if nothing happened.

Chris Foy and Will Kelleher have reported today in the Daily Mail that Liam Williams will return to the Scarlets in the next few weeks, which is probably a simple decision given that he’s injured and wants to return to the Scarlets anyway. They also state that Calum Clark and Michael Rhodes are vulnerable, along with Juan Figallo – all relatively high earners without playing very much.

Update: George Kruis is also apparently leaving for Japan at the end of the season, which would make him unavailable for England.

It must be an unnerving time for every Saracens player, and the sense of unity in the squad must be under threat. I find it very difficult to separate the outstanding rugby environment they created from the disregard for the spirit of the salary cap, but Saracens do deserve a lot of credit for the Rugby talent they have nurtured and the England players they have produced. That is all under threat here.

How are you feeling about Saracens and the squad changes that seem imminent?

16 thoughts on “Saracens offloading players to comply with salary cap

  1. Of course they have to take action! If not, they will get penalized again! Eventhough they produced a lot of talent, it is a fact that they cheated and I think it is aberrant that they did not give the trophy to the chiefs.

    1. No guarantee Chiefs would’ve won had Saracens not had the co-invests, there are far too many factors to consider.

  2. What’s more interesting would be will Saracens be offering any recompense to the players that are offloaded.

    Presumably a player contract works both ways in that, a player must fulfil his contractual obligations to the club, and the club their obligations to him – would a provision have been included to cover the event of releasing a player early from their contract as a result of rebalancing the books from a breach of salary cap? If not, are Sarries liable for compensation to that player?

  3. Indeed an unnerving time for the players so much so that Farrell engaged in another no arms tackle. A serial offender you might say but with this latest transgression we’ll put it down to him being unnerved.

  4. “I find it very difficult to separate the outstanding rugby environment they created from the disregard for the spirit of the salary cap, but Saracens do deserve a lot of credit for the Rugby talent they have nurtured and the England players they have produced”

    They broke the rules. They knew exactly what they were, and did it over a number of seasons. They created a significant advantage by cheating. Developing England players doesn’t mean you can carry on
    disregarding the rules under which all teams have to operate.
    As far as letting players go, that was pretty much to be expected. Plainly they are still over the cap and are going to have to trim their playing budget.

    1. Agreed. Too much mitigation about community, club spirit & academy dev to divert away from Saracens’ debasing rugby. The whole thing was underpinned by cheating. That’s the bottom line. Now the pigeons are coming home.

    2. Agreed. the England thing is a straw man argument anyway. This was about Sarries being top dog and nothing else.

  5. Why have no details been released by Prem Rugby with regards to the breach and the fine? No one is any wiser on what Saracen’s actually did and we are all still speculating!
    Are they over the “miles” cap or are they cutting players to offer those who were on joint investments a bump in pay, bringing them in line with market value? Comments made before seemed to suggest they weren’t over the cap with regards to salary but were breaching it with the co-invests to the senior players.

    I would also like to know what Prem Rugby are doing to ensure this isn’t being done elsewhere in the league. A number of clubs have made a number of high profile signings which surely need greater scrutiny.

    If Kruis is leaving then its a huge loss for England, maybe not so much Saracens as they have Itoje, Skelton and Isikewe, with Kipoku coming up from the academy.

    1. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there.
      As I mentioned in another thread somewhere the money that was saved on the co-investments meant they had more to spend elsewhere.
      It looks like Sarries are having to cover the salaries for the chosen few now at the expense of the rest of the squad. I suspected that might not happen because they might get to keep some of the investment money but it looks like that’s not the case now.

      This also might explain some of the lack of info on the situation. If the players involved were on salaries below their market rate that would be confidential info which can’t be released to the public. To be fair they shouldn’t have to release any info anyway. The whole investigation was undertaken by neutral third parties and every club agreed to adhere to their findings. You usually can’t dispute an official independent body. It’s their opinion and you can or cannot accept it. Sarries had agreed to accept it from the start so were locked in. If Wray hadn’t gone public with his opinion on the verdict I don’t think there would have been anywhere near as much hype over it.

      The other option is Wray just blatantly lied about being under the cap if you ignored the investments. Personally I don’t think that he did.

      1. This is it, it all boils down to one question: what actually happened? This is trivialising but it would start to help explain the actions of teh club since the sanctions.
        Some pundits and opposition players are already branding Saracens as breaching again this year because they haven’t offloaded any players and have added Singleton and Daly, yet we don’t know what the state of play was prior to their inclusion in the squad. All very frustrating.
        It’s also getting a tad boring hearing the BT pundits constantly banging on about the breach every time they cover a Saracen’s game.

  6. I think the most annoying thing about this is it shows the club under Wray continued to lie in the wake of the decision stating that they were in the cap once you remove the co-investments, which based on this announcement is clearly not true. On the plus side the new chairman has at least fessed up rather than continuing to sweep salaries under the carpet

  7. My understanding of the points sanction imposed on the Sarries that it was lenient in that it could have been 70 points but was imposed at 35 to run concurrently. That said if they’re still above the cap the deterrent when imposed was clearly insufficient therefore I’m of the view that each of their wins this season should be struck off as such and recorded as losses.

    1. They have not breached the cap this year as it is measured annually. The comments are that they need to cut players to get back within the cap before the end of the season

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