Rugby champions Saracens facing relegation over salary cap scrutiny

Saracens, the reigning English and European rugby champions, could be dumped out of the domestic league unless they prove they've stayed under the salary cap this season.

The Hertfordshire team were docked 35 points and dealt a £5.36 million fine last November for breaking the salary rules for the previous three seasons.

Under Premiership Rugby rules, teams must not spend more than £7 million on the salaries of their players.

Now Saracens have been issued an ultimatum to open their books within a week to prove they've stuck to the cap this season, or face relegation regardless of their total points.

  • Saracens CEO Edward Griffiths did not respond to questions outside training today

According to a report by RugbyPass, the team is struggling to stay within the salary cap this season, but by how much is not known.

Chief Executive Edwards Griffiths and club director Mark McCall confirmed the club would reduce their wage bill and were identifying players to be trimmed from the squad.

Former Saracens player Andy Goode said a lot of fans would be unimpressed with how the club has reacted to the scandal.

"I just think Saracens haven't handled it in perhaps the way, looking back at it, how they'd like to," he said.

"Initially they came out and made a statement that they were very shocked and surprised by the severity of the fine and they didn't believe they were breaking the salary cap... then they accepted the punishment and the fine."

"It made a lot of people stand up and think... what is the difference? And moving forward, what are the changes?"

Wales full-back Liam Williams' departure for Scarlets due to happen at the end of the season is set to be brought forward, while Richard Wigglesworth, George Kruis, Juan Figallo and Michael Rhodes face uncertain futures.

Saracens added England international Elliot Daly and hooker Jack Singleton to their squad at the start of the season.

Elliot Daly (with ball) was another high-profile international signed by Saracens. Credit: PA

Saracens have won six games this season but on Friday morning sat at the bottom of the table with -7 points, owing to the 35 point deduction, still 18 points behind second bottom Leicester Tigers.

Even if Saracens manage to wipe out the points difference and finish out of the automatic relegation spot of 12th and last, if the salary cap is shown to have been breached again, they have been warned to expect to be relegated.