Saracens have revealed they have implemented swingeing pay cuts and deferrals in the hope that the relegated Gallagher Premiership club can survive the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Londoners, who have been automatically relegated to the Championship for 2020/21 followed repeated salary cap breaches, are under severe financial pressure, a problem not helped by the imminent loss of Allianz, their prime sponsor. 

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With no firm indication that the suspended Premiership season will be restarting any time soon, owner Nigel Wray and chairman Neil Golding have addressed the entire squad, coaches and senior staff to explain the latest raft of measures they are taking to stay afloat. 

“I have never in my life experienced anything like this and indeed nor have the rest of us,” said Wray in a club statement. “The devastating wholesale loss of life, the potential destruction of the economy, millions of people out of work, tens of thousands of companies closed down – maybe forever – and all really because in most recessions demand drops, but it doesn’t drop to zero overnight.”

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Saracens’ Mako Vunipola takes on Wasps’ Billy Searle in the semi-finals of the RugbyPass Fifa charity tournament

The stark financial outlook has left Saracens admitting they will be participating in the government furloughing scheme. In addition, they have also asked players and all employees earning over £75,000 to defer payment of their salaries – over and above this amount – until the start of the 2020/21 season. 

The amounts deferred will then be repaid over an 18-month period from the start of the 2020/21 season. “Covid-19 has had huge ramifications on every facet of society and rugby is no different,” accepted Maro Itoje, one of the club’s numerous England internationals. 

“This is not an easy time for the players and the club alike. But in order to see this through, the whole organisation needs to pull together and do what we can for the future of Saracens RFC and our individual career’s within the sport. We as a playing group would like to send our support and thanks to all of the healthcare workers who are risking their lives for us in the battle against Covid-19.”

Chairman Golding added: “We understand this is really tough for everyone, but the reality is that the only way to survive this unprecedented situation as a club is to make these adjustments. The board are very optimistic that this is a short-term issue and are taking steps to secure future funding which will put the club on a very sound financial footing.

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“We want to continue to grow our brand which extends far beyond the pitch with our incredible Saracens Sport Foundation and Saracens High School. We understand the weight of responsibility that comes with having nurtured one of the greatest rugby clubs in the world and what it means to all our fans.”

Wray concluded: “I’m delighted that everyone is pulling together in this crisis. It’s easy being a family in the good times, but Saracens have shown this season there’s a genuine family spirit in the bad times too. I and my family have devoted 25 years to this club, and I believe that once we get through this, we will come out stronger together.”

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