January 23, 2020 / 4:50 PM / a month ago

Former Saracens chairman Wray apologises for 'ill-considered' salary cap approach

(Reuters) - Former Saracens chairman Nigel Wray has apologised for his “ill-considered approach” in relation to the club’s failure to comply with the salary cap regulations.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Saracens announce landmark partnership for English club Rugby - Copthall Stadium - 24/7/12 Saracens chairman Nigel Wray during the announcement Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Tony O'Brien/File Photo

Premiership Rugby (PRL) has published the independent report that led to the English and European champions being docked 35 points and fined 5.36 million pounds ($7.05 million) for breaking the salary cap over the last three seasons.

The 103-page report does not cover the current season, where Saracens have once again exceeded the 7-million-pound limit which has resulted in the club being relegated from the top flight at the end of the campaign.

"I am really sorry for the heartache that I have caused you due to my ill-considered approach to matters relating to salary cap compliance," Wray, who retired as Saracens chairman this month, said in a statement here

“I recognise that the actions of the club were described by the panel as ‘reckless’ primarily due to my failure to consult with PRL’s salary cap manager prior to entering into any agreements and then disclosing the transactions to him.

“I take full responsibility for this. We should have been far better.

“Equally important is the panel’s determination that neither the club nor myself deliberately attempted to breach the cap.”

In the summary of the decision, the panel said Saracens were “reckless” in their approach and failed to comply with its obligations to co-operate with the salary cap manager.

The report found Wray had entered into joint-property ventures with players, which meant Saracens overspent by more than 1.1 million pounds in 2016-17.

The player names were redacted from the published report but a Sky News report said Maro Itoje, Billy and Mako Vunipola and Chris Ashton were all involved in the deals with Wray.

Wray’s statement details how players received money through investments and public appearance work for a corporate hospitality company.

“I appreciate there is a lot to digest but felt you were owed a full explanation. Again, I am sorry that this has caused so much upset to you and our sport,” Wray added.

“As you know, the club has already started to implement new processes to ensure nothing like this happens again.”

In a separate statement here PRL stressed that no blame was attached to players for the breaches after an unredacted report brought names of several players into the public domain.

“Under the regulations, compliance with the salary cap is the responsibility of the club and no blame is attached to players for breaches such as those committed by Saracens,” the league’s governing body said.

“Premiership Rugby condemns the unauthorised and reckless leak of the unredacted report that has compromised the due confidentiality of personal information.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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