Saracens’ breach of salary is an off field matter, not an on field one

Saracens salary cap
GLOUCESTER, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 09: Gloucester supporters show a sign to Saracens after their alleged wage cap infringement during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby match between Gloucester Rugby and Saracens at Kingsholm on November 09, 2019 in Gloucester, England. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Earlier this week Premiership and European champions, Saracens, were given a 35-point reduction and £5m fine following failure to disclose finances within the salary cap for the last three seasons.

It follows after findings that the club’s Chairman Nigel Wray has had co-investments with certain players. Despite the fine, it raises the question, should off field matters be left off the pitch?

Saracens were worthy winners at Kingsholm on Saturday afternoon, as they convincingly beat Gloucester 21-12. As expected, the victory didn’t come without some abuse from the Cherry and White faithful.

Is verbal abuse necessary in the game?

Boo’s and chants were to be expected and Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall was quite pleased that his side weren’t met with more crowd opinions. It does beg the question as to whether the game has turned slightly toxic within the last week. Raising further questions over off field matters being left off the pitch.

There have been reports of Saracens supporters being abused in the streets, something that isn’t in the ethos of rugby. Or any sport for that matter. Ultimately, the supporters have had nothing to do with the financial matters of the club.

 

Mark McCall has his say

If Saracens’ appeal gets rejected then the club will be looking at the possibility of being relegated. Something that the Premiership big boys would never have dreamt of contemplating. McCall spoke to the press after their victory over Gloucester and reiterated that their sole focus of the season is on the Premiership.

“We are not thinking of breaking up the squad.”

“I think that were we to be relegated then we will need to do some thinking and proper planning so we will see but our job at the moment.

“If the appeal isn’t successful and the points reduction remains is to try and stay up and that is what we are trying to do.”

The players who haven’t been involved, are just trying to do their job

A talking point from the game was when the young fly-half Manu Vunipola had the opportunity to retake a conversion following a Gloucester player charging down his first attempt prematurely. His second attempt was met with the biggest boo of the game and lasted for the entirety of the kicking process.

Two questions are raised following this. One, were the home support taking out their frustration of their player’s performance on the opposition. Two, was the young fly-half only being targeted because he played for Saracens?

If Saracens are to have their point reduction and fine imposed, then people must tread carefully over online messages and chants at games. There were people within the club who knew what was happening, but there will have also been people who simply had no idea. Why throw abuse at young players or staff who were oblivious to the situation, when only a few are to blame?

Saracens will pay the price, regardless of whether they lose the appeal or not. Their once impeccable Premiership and European record is tainted and the club that was once held in such high honour, will most likely never be viewed in the same light again.

 

“Main photo credit”

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