Saracens: EPCR consider action as defending champions fail to send representatives to Champions Cup launch

Harry Latham-Coyle
Brad Barritt lifts the Heineken Champions Cup: Getty

Saracens have failed to send representatives to the official launch of the Champions Cup.

The Gallagher Premiership champions were yesterday found to be in breach of the league’s salary cap regulations, receiving a 35-point deduction and being fined more than £5 million.

The club were due to be represented by director of rugby Mark McCall and club captain Brad Barritt at the launch of the premier European club competition in Cardiff but neither attended the the event.

“EPCR is disappointed to learn of Saracens’ decision to make their club representatives unavailable for today’s official 2019/20 season launch of the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup in Cardiff,” said an European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) statement.

“EPCR will now consider what action is appropriate in this instance and will be making no further comment at this time.”

After being found guilty of salary cap breaches by an independent panel on Tuesday, Saracens described the fine and points deduction as “heavy-handed”, and confirmed they would be appealing all findings made.

The panel found that the club failed to disclose payments to players in each of the last three seasons, and exceeded the ceiling for payments to senior players in all three years, too. Salary cap regulations stipulate that a points deduction can only be levied in the current (2019/20) season.

Exeter Chiefs director of rugby Rob Baxter, whose side have lost to Saracens in each of the last two Premiership finals, does not expect the club to be stripped of their titles.

“If this is upheld it’s pretty obvious those titles have been won unfairly,” Baxter said at the season-launch of the Champions Cup.

“If you’re asking me would I like to walk into Sandy Park and see three Premiership trophies there, I would love to.

“In reality do I see that happening? No. There are too many other factors that come into play.”

The sanctions have been suspended pending the resolution of Saracens’ appeal.

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