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Saracens fined €50,000 following 'administrative oversight' but their European dream lives on

It has been a difficult winter for Owen Farrell's Saracens (Photo by Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

Saracens have been fined €50,000, €25,000 of which is suspended until the end of the 2020/21 season, following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in London on Friday night arising from the club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 6 match against Racing 92.

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Saracens had informed EPCR earlier this week that one of their established players, USA international Titi Lamositele, who was named in the match day squad, and who came on to the field of play as a replacement in the 60th minute of the fixture at Allianz Park, may have been ineligible due an inadvertent administrative error on behalf of the club.

As this error may have constituted a breach of the Disciplinary Rules of its 2019/20 Participation Agreement, EPCR decided to bring a misconduct complaint against Saracens and the complaint was heard by an independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Roger Morris (Wales), Chair, Pamela Woodman (Scotland) and Jean-Noel Couraud (France).

The Committee considered submissions from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan, from the Saracens Chairman, Neil Golding, and from the club’s legal representative, Paul Harris QC.

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The Committee heard that Lamositele was eligible for the Heineken Champions Cup, Round 6 fixture against Racing 92 when Saracens announced their match day squad on Friday, 17 January.

It was also explained that between the time of the match day squad announcement and the match itself on Sunday, 19 January, Lamositele’s work permit expired and that Saracens were not aware of this due to an administrative oversight.

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The Committee accepted that Lamositele’s work permit had expired unbeknownst to the club, and that Saracens had not sought to gain any unfair advantage by selecting the player.

The Committee then decided to uphold the misconduct complaint as Saracens had breached EPCR’s Disciplinary Rules, and a fine of €50,000 was imposed on the club.

Chair of the independent Disciplinary Committee, Roger Morris, said: “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.”

Both Saracens and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.

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Shaylen 1 hours ago
Jack Willis' Champions Cup masterclass proves English eligibility rules need a rethink

If France, Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland got together and all changed their eligibility laws in the same way SA has it would be absolutely bonkers. All players from all nations involved in Europe would be fair game as would their coaches. The investment in rugby would be supercharged as teams would rush to create dream teams. Transfer markets would be super charged, salary caps may change, private investment would grow as rich backers first buy clubs and then put money into their clubs in an effort to land the best players. The richest clubs and franchises would benefit most but money and players would move across borders at a steady flow. Suddenly countries like Wales and Scotland would have a much larger pool of players to select from who would be developed and improved in systems belonging to their rivals within superstar squads while their clubs receive large sums in the transfer market. The Six Nations would experience a big boost as the best players become available all the time. The Champions cup would become even more fiercely contested as the dream teams clash. Fan engagement would grow as fans would follow their favourite players creating interest in the game across the continent. Transfer markets and windows would become interesting events in themselves, speculation would drive it and rumours of big transfers and interest in players would spread. All of this is speculation and much of it would not eventuate straight away but just like in football the spread of players and talent would create these conditions over time. The transfer markets in European football is proof of this. Football had the same club vs country debate eons ago and favoured an open system. This has made it the largest game in the world with global interest and big money. Rugby needs to embrace this approach in the long run as well

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Jon 7 hours ago
Waratahs 'counter-culture' limits Wallaby options for Joe Schmidt

This is a bit dramatic for me, I think the Rebels and Force cultures would be very strong, and if a player is chosen from either, you can be confident they are in a good head space and ready. Whether they quite have the technical or tactical foundations of the other two states is where one would way their risk of selection. I see no need for Schmidt to worry about that risk in this squad. The main reason I could see a predominance of players from Brumbies and Reds, is simple cohesion. What might the coaching group make of what’s lacking in the Tahs, and to a lesser extent Rebels and Force’s, franchise? Certainly sides (players) that are running irish plays like we saw from that lovely McDermott long ball with have a head start. I hope the players can continue it at International level. Really liked what I saw of Wright (don’t know player focus and just hadn’t seen a lot of him anyway) in that game, can see him being a glue in a Wallaby side too. A with the similar worry of selecting players like Ryan, I think it unfounded to worry so much about forward balance at the moment. Including both Wright and Skelton in the same lineout is not going to lose you games gainst Wales. Nor will any unknown weakenss Wales might find in Ryan be exploited to any great extent. It is the perfect time to introduce such a young player. What other shortcuts might Schmidt want to make now, just a year out from hosting BIL? When Gamble came on the scene I thought he had a Pocock ability to break game apart along with performing the role of a openside well. I would be very keen to drop Leota/Hooper for Gamble, and in your squad make up, include Uru as a lock. Did you forget to remove Vunivalu from your team? Would you have Meafou in your squad if you could?

114 Go to comments
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