Premiership Rugby have revealed automatic relegation and the withdrawal of titles could be the punishments for future salary cap breaches.
The premier tournament in English club rugby was thrown into turmoil in early November when reigning champions Saracens were fined £5.4million and deducted 35 points for the 2019/20 season.
The controversy has negatively dominated headlines about the game in the months since then and Premiership Rugby’s new CEO has admitted an ongoing independent review of the rules could bring major changes to the tournament’s current regulations.
Speaking to BBC Sport in his first interview since his appointment last September, Darren Childs said: “It is absolutely a possibility that for serious breaches in the future it could include things like relegation and withdrawal of titles and other things that currently the regulations don’t allow us to do.
“We have to make sure that we don’t do this again or end up in this position again whether it’s through ambiguity or whether it has been deliberate.”
(Continue reading below…)
The Rugby Pod on Nigel Wray and the future of Saracens
Premiership Rugby announced in December that its salary cap regulations were being reviewed by former government minister Lord Myners to ensure a “continued level playing field for all clubs in the future”.
“I genuinely hope that the message is coming out loud and clear from Premiership Rugby that we are really serious about enforcing regulations,” continued Childs, speaking to the media for the first time after four months in his role.
In his first interview since becoming CEO of Premiership Rugby, Darren Childs told me:
– automatic relegation + withdrawal of titles ‘absolutely a possibility’ when new regs drawn up
– PRL in ‘watershed moment’
– Lord Myners has ‘open brief’ for his reviewhttps://t.co/VKQrGwNwkw
— Laura Scott (@LauraScott__) January 10, 2020
“In the last couple of months we have made a number of tough decisions that needed to be made, it is important to send the message that we will continue to make those where they are required.
“We have taken decisive action over breaches from prior seasons and it does genuinely feel, with what has been going on with Saracens, that this really can be seen as a watershed moment for the league. It is a very important time.”
RugbyPass revealed last Monday that Saracens’ newly appointed interim CEO, Edward Griffiths, that jobs and salary cut were imminent at the club to ensure it falls into line completely with the salary cap for the 2019/20 season.
“Clearly there is damage to the brand,” said Griffiths. “We are only obliged to show compliance with the salary cap at the end of the year, but we recognise there are special circumstances and that is why we want to demonstrate compliance as soon as possible.
The fallout continues at Saracens. https://t.co/0kHRawMwAL
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) January 8, 2020
“I’m currently examining what the scope of any issue is and there are two ways of dealing with it. You either reduce your headcount by letting people go or alternatively you reduce the salaries of those already there.
“This will clearly cause instability and uncertainty within the squad and it is in everyone’s interest that this is sorted as soon as possible while also being mindful that we are dealing with people’s lives, livelihoods and reputations. I would hope to have answers sooner rather than later.”
WATCH: RugbyPass have made something truly special with the Barbarians rugby team – the release date is this Sunday, January 12
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now