May 14, 2020 / 2:39 PM / 23 days ago

Strip clubs of titles for salary cap breaches, says Premiership review

(Reuters) - Premiership Rugby teams that breach salary cap rules in the future should be stripped of their titles, an independent report has recommended.

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Premiership Final - Exeter Chiefs v Saracens - Twickenham, London, Britain - June 1, 2019 Saracens players celebrate winning the Premiership final with the Gallagher Premiership cup Action Images via Reuters/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo

The review, which was published by the league on Thursday, was carried out by former government minister and member of Britain’s House of Lords Paul Myners on behalf of the Premiership after defending champions Saracens were found to have breached salary cap rules for three seasons.

Saracens, winners of four Premiership titles in the past five years, were sanctioned for spending above the league’s 7 million-pounds ($9 million) salary cap, docked points and will be relegated from the top flight this season.

"It is important that my recommendations should be viewed as a package of measures which, if taken together, will go a long way to restoring the integrity of the regulations," Myners wrote in the 55-page review. (here)

“They should not be viewed as a menu of options from which to pick and choose.”

The recommended sporting sanctions included relegation, suspension and return of prize money won in the breaching seasons.

Myners also said he sympathised with teams who wanted to end the system where two marquee players’ salaries were outside the cap, saying the exemption “cut across the objectives of equality and competition”.

“Quite a few clubs expressed a desire to end the marquee player system on the grounds that it is inflationary, over complex and unnecessary,” he added. “I have a great deal of sympathy with this position.

“I’ve come to the conclusion that the existence of exemptions and allowances cause both confusion and inflation.

“Particularly at a time of financial hardship such as all participants now face, it seems wrong to me to continue making exceptions to the principle of the regulations which can drive costs only in one direction – up.”

Premiership Rugby’s chief executive Darren Childs said he welcomed the recommendations put forward by Myners.

“In the next stage of this process, we will consult carefully with our clubs and other stakeholders as we finalise the new salary cap regulations for the long-term benefit of our sport,” he said.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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