English Premiership backs rugby salary cap reforms


London (AFP)

The governing board of rugby union's English Premiership said Tuesday it "unanimously supported" all 52 recommendations of a review into its salary cap rules following the Saracens scandal.

The review, headed by former British government finance minister Paul Myners, proposed teams could be stripped of their titles and suspended for future breaches.

It also called for "stronger investigatory powers" and greater accountability for club officials, players and agents, as well as Premiership Rugby itself.

The review was commissioned after reigning Premiership champions Saracens were found to have breached salary cap regulations in each of the past three seasons.

Tuesday's statement said all Premiership clubs had "united to support the recommendations" and that work would begin on transforming them into detailed regulations.

This would involve further consultation with the clubs, England's governing Rugby Football Union and the Rugby Players' Association.

The new regulations would then be presented to the Premiership Rugby board for approval, with the aim of having the rules in place for the 2020/21 season.

Premiership Rugby chief executive Darren Childs, who commissioned the review, said: "We want to create the gold standard for delivering sporting integrity, financial viability and competitive balance."

Saracens, also the reigning European champions, will be relegated from the English top-flight at the end of the current campaign as a result of the salary breaches.

The London club were hit with a cumulative mammoth 105-point deduction after repeatedly breaching the £7 million ($8.8 million) salary cap limit imposed on all 12 clubs in the top flight and then refusing to open up their books to full scrutiny.

Saracens were also fined £5.3 million but there was no mechanism under the existing regulations for Premiership Rugby to deprive them of the titles the club won while operating outside the salary cap.

The relegation of Saracens, the club of England captain Owen Farrell, is still set to take place even though the league is suspended because of the coronavirus.