Saracens sanction

Re: Saracens sanction

steckers 10 Nov 2019 21:52 pm said..

I'm sure that is the case - but the 'element' that people are upset about is Saracens cheating the cap. After years of rumours, speculation and accusation, they have finally been caught.

And people feel strongly about it. Anyone who has dug into their pocket and paid to watch rugby should feel that way.
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Re: Saracens sanction

RTS2 10 Nov 2019 22:10 pm said..

I agree Steckers and I wish it was as simple. The whole situation is a mess

I am with Colin on the SJ article in as much as in my opinion he was not only brave enough to express an opinion that goes against the flow of sports journalism on this subject; but also expresses an honest individual interpretation based on his own understanding. I don't think it was irresponsible as it didn't seek to condone what's happened, but merely to offer another viewpoint. It was perhaps a shame that Jones, who is an excellent journalist didn’t look at the wider aspects too.

What is important now it that the " penalty" imposed initially is upheld -IF the rules are confirmed to have been broken. Premeditation is also a highly subjective discussion and the powers that be must consider the investment vehicles that have been used and ask themselves why. Ignorance is not a defence and it could also be argued that the PRL have been less than diligent in recent seasons; by in effect not keeping a closer eye on clubs who have breached the rules for starters.

The amount of kafuffle we had over the proposed take -over at Gloucester involved a high degree of scrutiny. Given the histrionics, I am amazed that this has allegedly gone unnoticed for so long. We have even been discussing the subject...and on a fan’s forum for several years now! Surely the PRL should or could have kept closer tabs on this or was it perhaps (I am only surmising) been allowed to continue until after the World Cup? The timing of the announcement seems a strange coincidence. ???.....

Cont :-
Last edited by RTS2 on 10 Nov 2019 22:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Saracens sanction

RTS2 10 Nov 2019 22:11 pm said..

As for the situation in hand; well it needs tidying up immediately and clubs must now receive a clear guideline on what is allowed and what is not in terms of breaching the rules on the SC. IF it’s possible to run co-investment strategies then in my opinion these should be both declared and also be approved by the PRL. A code outlining the type of co-investments should be published and made clear to all clubs.

I am also wondering about the possible wider factors in these investments.

One way to ensure it is not a direct or indirect salary is to look at the shareholders agreements in such circumstances. These of course are not in the public domain. If there are clauses specifying that the players (shareholders) cannot derive any dividend etc for a period after their retirement for example might be construed as clear evidence that they are not short-term income designed investment strategies.

It has been mentioned about players post-retirement welfare. Most clubs; actually, all Premiership clubs start in player long -term career plans from a young age. It is a recognised and valued policy and Gloucester are I am quite sure no exception to this. Many young players looking to become full-time professionals at this level are pursuing degree’s etc that are relevant to them gaining employment opportunities when they start playing.

Having pension plans for employee’s is not only a legal requirement for all businesses these days, but also one that is not a level playing field in any type of business or industry. There are minimum contributions required by law, but also maximum one’s that are centred around income levels. Any such scheme must be approved and in the UK are regulated. Perhaps the PRL also need to take advice and issue guideline to the clubs in this respect as well ? ; or appoint an approved set of advisors to ensure that pension and investment strategies are both compliant and also NOT breaking any PRL rules in respect to salary advantages to players during there career or time with a particular club. Within the context of collective investment schemes (for example) there are explicit rules regarding the promotion of. The person proposing or promoting the scheme is (if it’s a regulated scheme) have FCA approval to promote it.
Last edited by RTS2 on 10 Nov 2019 22:28 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Saracens sanction

RTS2 10 Nov 2019 22:12 pm said..

cont:-
OK nothing strictly to do with rugby; but it does beg the question on the classification for these “much discussed” and potentially other investments. The generally held assumption in property, is that property investment is a private matter between those who co-invest. It’s not strictly so. There are rules surrounding collective investment strategies for example in terms of FCA approval.

IF the PRL were to permit concurrent investments on behalf of players that were either in breach of investment rules; taxation rules or potentially pension legislation then this could open a can of worms. I am not for one moment suggesting that any of these factors are applicable in the case of Sarries. We don’t have enough information to even speculate that there may be wider issues in their case, BUT from the PRL might at some point need to take legal advice on this in terms of future clarification and /or establishing clear guidelines.

Ultimately, it is all down to transparency- and declaring those things which need to be declared to comply with the rules. In my opinion (and this won’t be popular here) Saracens (it could be argued) have been partly transparent, in as much as the information has been in the public domain. OK; maybe not their primary role, BUT if PRL had been more diligent then the alarm bells would have been ringing much earlier. Were they in fact? We may never know. I think the club or owner of providing co-investment options to players MUST ultimately take responsibility for ensuring there is FULL transparency; not only to fulfil their directorial responsibilities to Companies House; but given the facts- also to PRL.
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Re: Saracens sanction

RTS2 10 Nov 2019 22:13 pm said..

Cont :-
It looks clear this hasn’t happened in the Saracens case and Nigel Wray (in fairness to him) has held his hands up with this final point and has (from listening to his statement on the subject) taken full responsibility for not declaring it. I don’t think anyone will prove either way whether he intended to deceive PRL in any way. It’s such a highly subjective argument and the evidence is somewhat contradictory by the information being available for anyone to read at Companies House!.

It must now remain with PRL to review this whole matter in some depth. In my opinion no stone should be left uncovered and if this extends beyond Saracens; well then so be it!

Perhaps an amnesty should be given to ALL clubs to voluntarily offer any information that might be appropriate to their own club; and IF there are any similar cases lurking in the darker recesses then perhaps now is the time to be transparent. An amnesty could perhaps be offered with (for example) a 50% reduction in any penalty that would have been appropriate to that potential breach.

The whole matter must be reviewed in full; with appropriate and biting penalties imposed. This needs to be fully sorted this time for both the integrity of the clubs, the PRL and moreover the integrity of the sport at professional level in England. OK the stakes might be high, and some reputations may be tarnished; but the future of the Premiership largely now depends on it happening.

Finally; so, what should happen to Saracens about this season? Well given the structure of the PRL; I genuinely think nothing will happen beyond a points deduction already indicated and the fine. Don’t forget that last year they were reported as agreeing to sell 27 per cent of its shares to CVC Capital partners in return for a fee of around £200 m .It does make you wonder if that would have made Premiership Rugby as attractive an investment had this broken out next season?
Last edited by RTS2 on 10 Nov 2019 22:32 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Saracens sanction

RTS2 10 Nov 2019 22:14 pm said..

So much of this doesn’t add up.

I don’t think anyone wants it to. Who are the beneficiaries of such a pay out? Think about it. That is wherein part of the problem lays. Perhaps the whole structure of the PRL needs reviewing. By whom though? the clubs? Hmmm. In all but maybe a few cases …. I wonder?!!!
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Re: Saracens sanction

Chalker 10 Nov 2019 22:31 pm said..

Good to see you back RTS.
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Re: Saracens sanction

TheOptimistSenior 10 Nov 2019 23:09 pm said..

Not1eyed wrote:Things are only FACT when they are irrefutable public record otherwise they are just your opinion. For all any of us know Farrell et al are playing for free this season so Sarries well under the cap.
A few made Themselves look very silly yesterday by waving fake cash around or sticking celery to their caps before the game. Do it after you win.


What on earth has having an opinion on Saracens breaking the cap, got to do with winning a game? How completely absurd your view point is. For those of us with principles, cheating is not dependent on the fortunes of the team we support.
You start your post by stating that FACT is only so when it is an irrefutable public record (my paraphrasing), and then throw in the risible red herring that Farrell et al may be playing for free this season. Seriously?
It seems that there are a number of people who don't seem to "get" cheating - some who post on here and some, journalists, who are happy to qualify their views on what constitutes cheating and who seem to be saying that cheating is not absolute but lies on a spectrum of "seriousness". They say that those of us who see Saracens (or rather those in control there) actions as cheating are allowing emotion to colour our thoughts. Today's Rugby Paper had two articles saying as much, both of which I disagree with profoundly. Sport should be honourable and honest. The judgement on Saracens would suggest they are not.
I'm in agreement with Steckers.

On a slightly different issue, I don't think the behaviour of the crowd at Kingsholm yesterday (mild from what I heard in the Malvern Tyres Stand) had a significant effect on the way Saracens played - they were already "circling the wagons" before Saturday. We should not fuel their victim status by saying that we shouldn't have an opinion and be willing to express that opinion.
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Re: Saracens sanction

steckers 10 Nov 2019 23:24 pm said..

Well said.

I'm glad I didn't buy the Rugby Paper today - if that's their viewpoint then I won't be reading it again.

I would ignore the FACT theory. A few of the 'defenders' (for want of a better description) have also suggested that Gloucester (and other clubs) have been guilty of breaking the cap in the past. Of course, using this logic, that isn't FACT either.
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Re: Saracens sanction

CMGC 10 Nov 2019 23:44 pm said..

We and indeed the Prem can argue and come up with all sorts of decisions. It remains however a problem if a few clubs are able to snaffle up most of the best players by having more money in one form or another ( it doesn't need to be paid as a tax declarable salary) to players or their associates. If, in the end the players migrate to one club or another fundamentally due to the financial short or long term advantages then there IS a big short and long term problem.
The Cap was set up to avoid this issue. All the current debate centres around the details of the rules of the cap but I suspect EVERYONE agrees as to what it is intended to prevent and understands why this is bad for English rugby.
THere is also little argument that Sarries have been using there financial advantage to attract players to their club ( Take Daly and Singleton over the Summer. So in effect they ARE a problem I have little doubt Bristol will follow the route Sarries have gone if it isn't stopped. You can see several Glos and Bath stars seeing that as a good move.
Lets hope the Prem find a sensible way of curbing this before we all dissappear down a moneygrabbing black hole.
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