Notes on a scandal: Timeline of Saracens salary cap affair

By Online Editors

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Timeline: Saracens appear increasingly resigned to automatic relegation from the Premiership as they face the impossible task of reducing their wage bill by up to £2million to comply with salary cap regulations for the current season.


Here is a timeline of the Saracens affair to date.

March 3, 2019

Saracens say they have no case to answer after Premiership Rugby Ltd (PRL) announces it is examining whether the champions might be in breach of the salary cap.

March 11

Saracens owner Nigel Wray says the club are “open and transparent” in terms of the salary cap rules, but adds “investment is not salary” amid revelations he had co-invested into companies with leading players.


April 10

PRL reveals Saracens had not shared with it the details of all the co-investment arrangements, but confirmed the required information had been received. Saracens protest their innocence.

Continue reading below…

WATCH: Saracens stand on brink of automatic relegation as nightmare season set to get worse.

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November 5

Saracens docked 35 points and fined £5.36million by a heavyweight independent panel after being found to have breached salary cap regulations for the three previous seasons, leaving them at the foot of the Premiership on minus 26 points. Chairman Wray says the club are “devastated” by the “heavy handed” sanction and declares he will appeal.

November 6

Exeter owner Tony Rowe says Saracens should be relegated. Wray insists Saracens will not have to offload players and repeats his claim they have not exceeded the cap.

Exeter fine

Tony Rowe

November 13

Saracens appoint PR firm FTI Consulting to handle the fallout from the scandal. FTI representatives block salary cap questions at club briefings.

November 17

Saracens drop plans to appeal against the fine and points deduction.

Nigel Wray departure

Nigel Wray

November 18

In an apparent admission of guilt, Wray says: “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.”

January 2, 2020

Wray steps down as chairman but pledges to continue financing the club. Ed Griffiths is reappointed chief executive and issues Saracens’ first public apology for the scandal.

January 6

Griffiths admits Saracens must reduce wage cuts or offload players to fall under the £7million cap for the current campaign.

January 16

RugbyPass reveal that Saracens could be automatically relegated following a PRL meeting. Wray severs all ties with the club.

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Notes on a scandal: Timeline of Saracens salary cap affair