Saracens salary cap breach: Premiership champions face deadline to contest sanctions

Saracens celebrate winning the Premiership in 2019
Saracens have won four of the past five Premiership titles

Saracens are still to formally contest their points deduction and fine for breaching the Premiership salary cap before Monday's midnight deadline.

They face a 35-point deduction and £5.36m fine after an inquiry into business partnerships between owner Nigel Wray and some of their players.

Reports on Sundayexternal-link suggested the current domestic and European champions were set to accept the punishment.

Wray had previously vowed to "appeal against all the findings".

In a statement issuedexternal-link on the same day the sanctions were announced, Sarries strongly denied the charges brought by an independent disciplinary panel, with owner Wray saying it felt as though "the rug is being completely pulled out from under our feet".

The club apologised for "administrative errors relating to the non-disclosure of some transactions" to Premiership Rugby Limited, but added it would "continue to vigorously defend this position especially as PRL precedent already exists whereby co-investments have not been deemed part of salary in the regulations".

Although, strictly speaking, they are unable to appeal against the punishment, they can request a review into the findings.

They can only request such a review on one of three grounds; error of law, whether the decision was irrational or whether there was procedural unfairness.

Saracens, who lost 30-10 at Racing 92 as they began their European Champions Cup defence on Sunday, brought in a major communications company to help manage the public fallout of the scandal last week.

Should the points deduction stand, Mark McCall's side will drop from third to bottom of the Premiership with -22 points.

What's the background?

The charges relate to a failure to disclose player payments in each of the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons.

Saracens previously claimed they "readily comply" with salary cap rules and were able to spend above the £7m cap because of the high proportion - almost 60% - of home-grown players in their squad.

The Allianz Park outfit have several of the game's biggest stars on their books, including seven of the 31-man squad that represented England at the World Cup in Japan, such as captain Owen Farrell and forwards Maro Itoje and Billy and Mako Vunipola.

One of the dominant forces in northern hemisphere club rugby, Sarries have won five Premiership titles and three European Champions Cups since 2010-11 - with two of those domestic titles coming in the timeframe that Premiership Rugby have been investigating.

Their three European successes have all come within the past four seasons.