Gallagher Premiership Rugby have announced that two-time defending champion Saracens will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season.
The action comes at “the conclusion of dialogue between Premiership Rugby and Saracens over the club’s compliance with the Salary Cap Regulations”, which also resulted in a penalty of 35 deducted league points and a fine of nearly $7 million in November.
Saracens have won four of the last five Premiership titles, and last season won the Heineken Champions Cup — the top professional club rugby competition in Europe — for the third time in four years.
The following is the official statement from Gallagher Premiership Rugby:
Premiership Rugby confirms that Saracens Rugby Club will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-2020 season.
This action follows the conclusion of dialogue between Premiership Rugby and Saracens over the club’s compliance with the Salary Cap Regulations, which began in November 2019 after the club received a sanction in respect of breaches in past seasons.
Darren Childs, Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby, said: “Premiership Rugby is prepared to take strong action to enforce the regulations governing fair competition between our clubs. At the conclusion of dialogue with Saracens about their compliance with the Salary Cap Regulations, it has been decided that Saracens will be relegated at the end of this season.
“At the same as enforcing the existing regulations, we want to ensure a level playing field for all clubs in the future, which is why we have asked Lord Myners to carry out an independently-led review of the Salary Cap. As part of this process, we will soon be announcing an open consultation so that everyone involved in the game has the opportunity to contribute to its future.
“The actions that we have taken – dealing with breaches of the current regulations and reviewing the system for the future – will help us to build a stronger league and uphold the confidence of supporters.”
Following the decision over Saracens’ relegation, the club will continue to compete in Gallagher Premiership Rugby through to the end of the 2019-20 season.
Neil Golding, chairman of Saracens, said: “As the new Chairman of Saracens I acknowledge the club has made errors in the past and we unreservedly apologize for those mistakes.
“I and the rest of the Board are committed to overseeing stringent new governance measures to ensure regulatory compliance going forward.’’