Saracens claim innocence over alleged Premiership salary cap breach

Saracens flags flying during the Gallagher Premiership match against Newcastle Falcons -- Apr. 06, 2019. Warren Little/Getty Images

Saracens have said they are innocent of breaching Premiership Rugby's salary cap rules after an investigation into some of their players' investments was opened.

Premiership Rugby is looking into business deals between high-profile players and club owner Nigel Wray, which may have constituted a violation of the £7 million limit clubs can pay out in wages.

The organisation said Saracens had failed to disclose details of the arrangements when they were first reported in March, although they have now complied and delivered key documents to Premiership Rugby.

The club said a "minor internal oversight" was to blame for the delay and argued it had done everything to help Premiership Rugby's investigation.

"Unprompted, we invited Premiership Rugby's salary cap manager into the club to openly discuss matters related to player salaries," a Saracens statement said. "Whilst co-investments are not part of the salary regulations, we disclosed these transactions in good faith and indeed divulged more information than was necessary.

"Separately, following a minor internal oversight, Premiership Rugby was provided with details relating to some of these agreements. We remain confident that we comply with the salary regulations and will continue to support the entrepreneurial spirit and future of our players."

Saracens could face a fine or points deduction if they are found guilty of breaching the salary cap, which allows for two marquee players in each team to be excluded.

Wray has previously defended his agreements with players and said they are not part of the Premiership's rules, but the organisation said the club should have provided the details earlier.

"Under the salary regulations, clubs are required to supply information to the Premiership Rugby Salary Cap Manager on any arrangements between a connected party and a player which might constitute payment or a benefit in kind," a Premiership Rugby statement said.

"Saracens had not at the time of recent media speculation shared with the Premiership Rugby Salary Cap Manager details of all the co-investment arrangements between connected parties and players.

"The information now received from the club and various parties will be reviewed."