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Allianz blow for Saracens

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Another major blow for Saracens as Allianz ready to pull plug - reports

Crisis club Saracens have been dealt with another financial headache with reports that Allianz are scrapping their long-standing sponsorship deal. 

The German insurance group have been the Londoners’ main sponsor since 2012 but they have now decided to opt-out a year before their current £2million a year deal was due to elapse in 2021. 

Saracens were automatically relegated from the Gallagher Premiership last month for repeated salary cap misdemeanours. They had initially been fined £5.4m and docked 35 points last November after breaching the cap in the three proceeding seasons. 

That punishment then became automatic relegation in January when they admitted they would not be able to come in under the £7m salary cap for the current season. 

According to a report in the Financial Times, Allianz last week informed Saracens it would abandon the sponsorship. “The club is trying to keep Allianz on board but has already started the search for a new sponsor,” continued the FT, who explained that the salary cap revelations had led to tensions between the two parties. 

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How Saracens fare in trying to secure a replacement will be watched with interest. It was in November, shortly after the initial punishments were handed down by Premiership Rugby, that a sponsorship expert warned that they troubled club faced two years of pain as a toxic brand.

Sponsorship industry expert Nigel Currie, a former joint chairman of the European Sponsorship Association, told RugbyPass: “Saracens have become a toxic brand and only time can get them back to where they want to be.

“It’s similar to Rangers in Scottish football who dropped down after breaking various rules. You just have to rebuild and for clubs wanting instant success, it is pretty bad news. There is a danger that Saracens could get relegated from the Premiership and the damage over the next two years will be pretty bad. 

“Holding onto their players and their sponsors during that period is the key thing, but having someone like Nigel Wray there is important because you don’t make money out of Premiership rugby at the moment. It’s tough and now a lot a tougher for Saracens and I don’t know if their club sponsor Allianz have some kind of embarrassment clause in their contract.”

In an effort to generate some better publicity, Saracens have announced they will donate £1,000 for every try scored by Allianz Park to three good causes for the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign.

The initiative begins when Mark McCall’s side host Leicester on March 7. Money raised for each home try will be equally split between Saracens charity partner Duchenne UK, the Saracens Sport Foundation and the Saracens High School.

Meanwhile, next weekend’s match against Sale will be used to raise money for a separate charitable fund. Michael Fatialofa’s JustGiving page will receive £1,000 for every Saracens try during the game as well as money collected via buckets around the ground, in the hospitality lounges and on the club’s matchday shuttle buses.

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Another major blow for Saracens as Allianz ready to pull plug - reports
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