Saracens: Premiership champions ask high earners to defer salaries

Owen Farrell
Owen Farrell is one of numerous Saracens players being asked to defer their wages

Saracens have asked their highest earners to defer a portion of their salaries until next season and furloughed the majority of staff.

The move comes after Sarries agreed a 25% pay cut with staff from 1 April because of the coronavirus crisis.

The defending Premiership champions want anyone earning more than £75,000 a year to defer anything above that amount until the start of 2020-21.

“We understand this is really tough for everyone,” said chairman Neil Golding.

"But the reality is that the only way to survive this unprecedented situation as a club is to make these adjustments.

“The board are very optimistic that this is a short-term issue.”

North London side Saracens, who will be automatically relegated at the end of the campaign following salary cap breaches, intend to repay any wages that are deferred over an 18-month period from the beginning of next season.

Christian Day of the Rugby Players Association said the approach of Premiership clubs to salary cuts during the coronavirus pandemic has led to an "absolute mess" of a situation.

In response to the pandemic, the government launched a job retention scheme. It allows businesses to claim 80% of their employees' wages from the government - up to a maximum of £2,500 per person, per month before tax.

Any company which furloughs staff can then top up this pay if it chooses.

“[We] are taking steps to secure future funding which will put the club on a very sound financial footing,” Golding added.

Lower-paid staff at Saracens were exempt from the 25% pay cut, which was agreed on 20 March.

The 2019-20 top-flight campaign has been suspended indefinitely because of the coronavirus outbreak in England, with nine rounds of regular season action remaining, along with the play-offs and Twickenham final.

“Covid-19 has had huge ramifications on every facet of society, and this is not an easy time for players and the club,” Saracens and England lock Maro Itoje said.

“But in order to see this through, the whole organisation needs to pull together and do what we can for the future of Saracens and our individual careers.”

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