Eddie Jones fears Saracens’ many England players could be negatively affected by the salary cap scandal that has left the club in real danger of relegation.
As widely reported – club chairman Nigel Wray accepted the punishment despite initially saying the North London outfit would fight the 35 point reduction and a hefty £5.4 million fine.
Wray said: “We have made mistakes and so, with humility, we must accept these penalties. As a club, we will now pull together and meet the challenges that lie ahead.
“We confirm our commitment to the Salary Cap, and the underlying principle of a level playing field, and will continue to work transparently with Premiership Rugby in this regard.”
The scandal, of course, hasn’t been lost on Jones, who appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning.
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) November 18, 2019
“It could have a significant impact,” Jones told BBC Sport. “It’s something we need to weigh up and look at very carefully.”
“Obviously there may be some dislocation between Saracens players and the rest of the clubs,” said the former Saracens coach. “That’s a reality.”
“So we may have to work to mend those relationships a bit harder, and there might be some Saracens players who feel like they’ve got to play for their club instead of their country, to make sure they don’t go down.
“So we’ll weigh all those up as they come about.”
It’s arguably the biggest scandal to hit the domestic game in England since the inception of the Premiership.
Darren Childs, Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby, said: “We welcome Saracens’ decision to accept the verdict of the independent panel and are pleased the club has crucially reaffirmed its commitment to the Premiership Rugby Salary Cap.
“This is the right outcome for English club rugby. Bringing this process to a conclusion means that we can focus on working in partnership with all Clubs to continue to build a competitive and successful league.”
The charges against Saracens, which relate to the seasons 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, were brought following a nine-month investigation by Premiership Rugby. In accordance with the Salary Cap Regulations, the charges were referred to the independent dispute service, Sport Resolutions, which appointed a panel chaired by Lord Dyson.
The decision of the independent panel was to uphold all of the charges, finding that Saracens had both failed to disclose payments to players and exceeded the ceiling for payments to senior players in each of the three seasons.
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