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French clubs want action taken at European level against Saracens

By Liam Heagney
Saracens players react to their defeat in Paris by Racing last November (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Racing 92 president Jacky Lorenzetti believes steps must be taken in Europe to sanction clubs like Saracens who break their domestic league salary cap rules.


As revealed by RugbyPass on Thursday night, an automatic drop to the second tier of English rugby is on cards for 2020/21 due to the London club’s inability to show they are operating under the £7million cap this season.

This is a charge they were found guilty of for the last three seasons, leading to a 35-point reduction and £5.4m fine.

French clubs have a higher salary cap within the Top 14 than the £7million limit that Saracens have broken, but the Parisian club boss wants sanctions for salary cap-bursting offenders to be extended into Europe

Interviewed by Midi Olympique, the bi-weekly French rugby newspaper, ahead of Sunday’s Heineken Champions Cup meeting between the clubs at Allianz Park, Lorenzetti said: “On the initiative of Clermont’s Eric de Cromieres, we will also review European regulations so that the sanction produced in a country can be extended to continental competitions. This should be effective within two years.

(Continue reading below…)

Saracens on brink of automatic relegation

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“The eleven English clubs having seen Saracens sanctioned, but 19 European clubs have been fighting for ten years with Sarries to win the European Cup… it is, therefore, a problem that must be resolved,” he said, dismissing the €3million difference between the Top 14 and the Premiership salary cap limit.

“The marquee player rule allows English clubs to have more room for manoeuvre. In the end, the gap between us is tiny,” insisted Lorenzetti, who did admit that he also wants tighter policing of the French league’s own salary cap.


“The league is trying to put in place a system for gathering evidence but we are less pragmatic than our British friends, for sure. The subject deserves to be deepened.”

Asked if he would be interested in signing any Saracens players for next season, Lorenzetti responded that they are too expensive. 

Amid the fall-out in London, it has been claimed that the club’s leading players could opt to join French clubs in the Top14 for one season as England have a clause which allows head coach Eddie Jones to pick players in exceptional circumstances – and the current crisis certainly satisfies that criteria.


However, Racing boss Lorenzetti has no interested in getting any of them on his books in France.  “No. First, these players are overpriced. It took me ten years to balance the accounts. Racing is not going to put me in the red on a whim.

“And then, these rugby players will never arrive on the French market because they will always favour their national team to which they would no longer have access in the event of an exodus.”

WATCH: Jim Hamilton discusses all the news of the week in the latest episode of Don’t Mess With Jim

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