Saracens are adamant that they “readily comply” with the Gallagher Premiership salary regulations which allows the club to spend nearly £9m on wages despite the agreed salary cap of £7m per season.
The club responded to claims in the Daily Mail which undertook a four-month investigation, with Sportsmail reporting that Saracens owner Nigel Wray has been in business with Owen Farrell, Mako and Billy Vunipola, and Richard Wigglesworth, with this a potential breach of the salary cap regulations in the competition.
The report also states that Wray co-owned houses with former players, with any costs towards accommodation something which should currently be included in a player’s salary cap figure.
The investigation found that two investment property companies, ShahDan Limited and DanCallie Ltd, were set up in 2017, with Wray as sole shareholder and Daniel van den Heever, an associate of Wray, the sole director.
The names of both companies changed within months, however, with ShahDan Limited becoming VunProp Ltd and DanCallie Ltd becoming Wiggy9 Investments. The Vunipola brothers became joint directors at VunProp Ltd as 33.3% shareholders shortly after the name change, whilst similar happened at Wiggy9 Investments, with Wigglesworth owning 65% of shares in the company. Per Companies House, VunProp Ltd owns £1.5m worth of property, whilst Wiggy9 Investments’ portfolio boasts £875,000 of property investment.
The report also states that the company Faz Investments Ltd was set up by former Saracens director Kamal Shah just a month after the fly-half signed a contract extension with the club in 2017. Farrell and Wray are the two shareholders listed, but the company has not yet filed any accounts.
Now Saracens have issued a response to the matters raised: “Firstly, we would like to reiterate that the Club readily complies with Premiership Rugby salary regulations and information relating to remuneration is declared to the salary cap manager. Although co-investment partnerships between owners and players are not a prerequisite of the salary regulations, we disclose these transactions to Premiership Rugby and will continue to do so.
“Currently, 57% of the men’s squad is comprised of home grown talent – the highest in the Premiership. These players not only produce results on the pitch, they help entitle the Club to £1.2m in credits above the baseline salary cap from the RFU and Premiership Rugby. This is a direct result of our significant investment in the Saracens Academy which nurtures and develops Saracens and England players of the future.
“A professional playing career in rugby can be short. We have a responsibility to help our players fulfil their potential, not just on the pitch but off it too. It is why our Academy incorporates an education programme that actively prepares players for life beyond the sport. We are encouraged that many of our senior players are exploring business opportunities away from rugby.”
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