Saracens to drop salary cap appeal -- reports

London (AFP) –


European champions Saracens will drop their appeal against a £5.4 million ($6.97 million) fine and a 35-point penalty for salary cap breaches, according to British media reports on Sunday.

Saracens had planned to appeal against what the "heavy-handed" punishments that were described by the English Premiership club's chairman Nigel Wray as "absolutely devastating".

But ahead of Monday's deadline to officially serve notice of appeal, the Sunday Times reported Saracens are poised to confirm they will accept the punishments.

While an appeals process was in place, the sanctions were suspended.

The points penalty would now come into immediate effect on Monday once the club has confirmed its decision.

It means English champions Saracens, currently third in the table on 13 points, a point behind leaders Bristol, will sit on -22 points, 26 adrift of bottom club Leicester.

It is understood the club will be given a short period of time to make payment of their fine.

An independent panel, led by barrister Lord Dyson, found the club had failed to disclose payments to players in each of the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons, and had also exceeded the ceiling for payments to senior players.

No details have been revealed on the size of the undisclosed payments or the recipients.

But Premiership Rugby's investigations were reported to have centred around Wray's involvements in companies such as VunProp Ltd (Mako and Billy Vunipola), Faz Investments Ltd (Owen Farrell), Wiggy9 Ltd (Richard Wigglesworth) and MN Property Solutions Ltd (Maro Itoje).

The panel was established after a nine-month Premiership Rugby investigation led to charges being brought in June.

Saracens have yet to comment about the report they will drop the appeal.

Mark McCall's side are due to play Racing 92 in the European Champions Cup in Paris on Sunday.