Saracens 'not for sale' despite South African co-owner's departure

Nigel Wray, right, will assume full control of Saracens from Johann Rupert. David Rogers/Getty Images

Saracens chairman Nigel Wray has insisted the Aviva Premiership club is "not for sale" despite co-owner Johann Rupert's decision to withdraw his financial support.

As reported by The Times, Rupert has decided to sell his 50 percent stake in the European champions, who made an operating loss of £2.7 million in its most recent published accounts.

That figure was down from a £3.25m loss the previous year -- and is considerably lower than the two seasons preceding that -- as Rupert and Wray have built Saracens into one of the continent's leading clubs.

The South African businessman has decided to walk away, however, and Wray will pay an undisclosed sum to his company, Remgro, to take full ownership of the club.

"Saracens are not for sale -- that's rubbish," Wray told the Rugby Pass.

In a statement issued to ESPN by email, Wray doubled down on his commitment to Saracens. He is confident he can now find new investors and says that Rupert's departure will not impact on the club's on-field ambitions.

"Remgro has been a fantastic shareholder in Saracens for the last nine years and, as shareholders do, they have decided to reduce their shareholding and I am very happy to say that I've decided to buy all their shares as I have huge faith and commitment to this club and everything it stands for," the statement read.

"If you believe you have something great, then you must build in succession and sustainability. We all want Saracens to be great for the next 100 years and it's quite likely, some might indeed even say probable, that I won't be here for the next 100 years, so in due course we need to bring in extra investment into the club from outside.

"At this point I should say I have never sold a share in Saracens and never intend to. New money will always go into the club to continue building it for better and better things.

"Club rugby in my view is going to expand hugely in the years ahead, so we are already speaking to people, good people, who wish to invest in the club and take it forward but there is no rush for the moment, as it is so important to find really good people who share our values."

Wray also moved to assure supporters that funding for the club's new £22m West Stand at Allianz Park would not be affected.