Racing 92’s billionaire owner Jacky Lorenzetti says won’t sue over the EPCR decision to fine Saracens over their ‘administrative oversight’ that saw an ineligible player fielded.
Saracens escaped with a 50,000 euros (£42,500) fine after admitting they fielded an ineligible player in their Heineken Champions Cup match against Racing 92 last month.
An independent disciplinary committee deemed the fine – half of which is suspended – was sufficient after accepting the situation occurred due to an administrative error.
Saracens played prop Titi Lamositele in the match despite the United States international’s work permit having expired on the day before their 27-24 victory at Allianz Park.
Continue reading below…
It had been suggested that the reigning European champions faced being thrown out of the competition, having already been relegated from the Premiership due to salary cap breaches.
Although there was no precedent for this sort of administrative error, French club Grenoble were heavily punished for fielding an ineligible player against London Welsh in the 2012-13 European Challenge Cup.
Grenoble, who won the game 20-9, were deducted four match points as London Welsh were awarded a 28-0 victory.
Saracens finished second in their Champions Cup group last month to secure an away quarter-final at Leinster on April 4.
But had the victory against Racing, which pushed Glasgow Warriors out of the final Champions Cup quarter-final spot, had been overturned, or if Saracens had been docked at least two match points, then they would have been out of the competition.
Hit in the pocket https://t.co/vZFoJMnTqY
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 7, 2020
But Racing boss Lorenzetti has said that he will not sue over the decision. RugbyRama report that he said: “It’s ridiculous. The Saracens confessed to having cheated. In Racing, we therefore note that from now on, in the European Cup, we can play with non-eligible players and without getting away with a 25,000 euro fine. We also see that you can be banned from your own championship and still compete in the European Cup.
“But we will settle that on the ground. With the EPCR and the English, you have to know how to show your composure ”.
The owner didn’t think that the fact that it was error had any bearing.
“The problem is not there,” said Lorenzetti. “Is there a rule, yes or no? Is there a law? Yes, as far as I know! I therefore find this decision unfair and biased. But we will settle that on the ground, not in court”.
One former Scottish international has tried to defuse the growing tension ahead of the Calcutta Cup
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 7, 2020
The independent disciplinary committee chairman, Roger Morris, said in a statement on Friday night: “Following careful consideration of a complaint involving a player who has been contracted to Saracens since 2014, and who remains contracted to the club, the committee believes that this was an unfortunate sequence of events brought about by an administrative oversight.
“However, Saracens are in breach of the Disciplinary Rules of the Heineken Champions Cup, and that breach constitutes misconduct which can be proportionately dealt with by way of a financial penalty.”
News of Saracens’ continental lifeline emerged at the same time as they were falling to a 28-7 defeat to Sale Sharks in the Premiership Rugby Cup semi-finals.
And afterwards the club’s senior academy coach Adam Powell refused to be drawn on the implications of the decision, insisting it had no effect on their latest setback on the pitch.
Powell said: “The hearing was a good result of course, but as far as the lads are concerned and their reaction, they probably don’t even know about it yet.”
Powell admitted his side, who grabbed their only score with 20 minutes remaining through Rotimi Segun, had been up against it.
“It was tough because Sale had a very experienced team out there,” said Powell.
“On any given day they are one of the best defensive teams in the league and that was no different here.”
Press Association/additional reporting RugbyPass
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now