Saracens relegated from the Premiership

By Sports Desk January 18, 2020

Defending champions Saracens will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season, Premiership Rugby has confirmed.

Sarries, who won the English top flight and the European Champions Cup last season, were docked 35 points and fined £5.36million in November for breaching salary cap regulations in each of the past three seasons.

The London club are bottom of the Premiership table on minus seven points but have the joint-best record in the division with six wins in eight matches this term.

However, after talks between the governing body and Saracens in the aftermath of the latter's initial punishment, it has been decided they will drop down to the Championship for next term.

Recently appointed Saracens chairman Neil Golding said: "I acknowledge the club has made errors in the past and we unreservedly apologise for those mistakes.

"I and the rest of the board are committed to overseeing stringent new governance measures to ensure regulatory compliance going forward."

Premiership Rugby has launched an independent review into the salary cap as a result of the Saracens saga, which will be led by former Treasury minister Lord Myners.

Chief executive Darren Childs said: "Premiership Rugby is prepared to take strong action to enforce the regulations governing fair competition between our clubs.

"At the conclusion of dialogue with Saracens about their compliance with the salary cap regulations, it has been decided that Saracens will be relegated at the end of this season."

Childs added: "The actions that we have taken – dealing with breaches of the current regulations and reviewing the system for the future – will help us to build a stronger league and uphold the confidence of supporters."

Six Saracens players started for England in their World Cup final loss to South Africa in November, including captain Owen Farrell, but a star-studded line-up now looks certain to be broken up.

On Sunday, Sarries face Racing 92 in the Champions Cup, where victory will virtually secure progress to the knockout stages.

Farrell is joined in the starting XV by England colleagues Elliot Daly, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and Mako and Billy Vunipola, and a run in this season's tournament is likely to be a last hurrah for this collective.

Even if they win Europe's top competition for the fourth time in their last five attempts, Saracens' Championship status will mean they are barred from entering next year.

Related items

  • Coronavirus: World Athletics Championships moved back to 2022 Coronavirus: World Athletics Championships moved back to 2022

    The 2021 World Athletics Championships have been moved back to 2022 to accommodate the rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games, governing body World Athletics has confirmed.

    Last month, the International Olympic Committee elected to move Tokyo 2020 back 12 months in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    That announcement was made possible after World Athletics confirmed its willingness to move its own event and the championships originally slated for August 6-15 next year will now take place between July 15-24 next year, with Oregon still the location.

    The new date has been selected so as not to clash with the Commonwealth Games and European Championships, with World Athletics president Sebastian Coe enthused by the exposure that will be generated for athletics during six weeks of back-to-back international competitions.

    "This will be a bonanza for athletics fans around the world," he said in a statement.

    "They will be treated to six weeks of absolutely first-class athletics. 

    "More than 70 of our member federations are part of the Commonwealth and more than 50 of our member federations are European so our guiding principle in rescheduling the World Championships was to ensure enough space was created around the centrepiece World Athletics Championship for athletes to choose other major events to compete in.

    "We were also very mindful that we did not want to damage the other major championships in 2022, because they are also very important to our sport."

  • Coronavirus: Messi hailed as 'global example' amid footballer pay-cut debate Coronavirus: Messi hailed as 'global example' amid footballer pay-cut debate

    Barcelona star Lionel Messi is "a global example" when it comes to the debate over footballers and pay cuts during the coronavirus pandemic, according to a sports psychologist.

    Messi issued a statement on behalf of the Barca first team on March 30 to confirm that the players had agreed to a 70 per cent reduction in wages to help to ease the financial burden on the club while football is largely at a standstill.

    The players are also making further financial contributions to ensure Barca's non-playing employees can take home their full wages while LaLiga remains suspended during Spain's nationwide lockdown.

    Atletico Madrid announced last week that their players would be taking a similar pay reduction.

    The decisions from two of Spain's top clubs encouraged debate over the practices of the Premier League elite, whose players are yet to announce any definitive agreement on wage reductions or financial contributions towards frontline health systems.

    Tom Bates believes Messi and Barca's example will help to encourage other clubs to follow suit while the COVID-19 crisis persists.

    "The players that I have spoken with from the Premier League all the way through, they have different perspectives, naturally," he told Stats Perform.

    "One of the things that the guys have said is, 'Well, actually at our club we are quite a wealthy club, so we could probably afford to keep our staff paid, but other clubs in different leagues won't be able to do that'. Others feel like taking a pay cut to keep their staff on board is absolutely fine.

    "The classic case is Leo Messi, who started this and was one of the first players to take a 70 per cent pay cut in order to make sure the staff at Barcelona were able to carry on working, and I think that really is a global example to everybody when you're talking about that level in money in wages, and that type of athlete.

    "I am very privileged: I have met Leo Messi and [Pep] Guardiola over there in Barcelona together as a team, and it doesn't surprise me that they are leading the way with this.

    "If there was going to be a global example of a player out there doing something for the greater good of their club – and he embodies that for me – so, in my professional opinion, if you can afford that and if you're able to support by taking a pay cut, then clearly those who need it the most are going to benefit."

    Bates also praised the influence of former Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney in encouraging conversations around mental health.

    Writing for The Times, Derby County star Rooney outlined how the suspension of the football calendar could have implications for the mental wellbeing of players who have seen their routine grind to a halt.

    "Wayne is in many ways an ambassador, he is a cultural leader for the game, especially because what he has achieved at international level, and certainly to be continuing his career even now and still performing at a very high level encourages others to do the same," Bates said.

    "When you have somebody like Wayne come and be very open and very honest about mental health on a global level within the game, that can only be a good thing because it encourages others to have conversations, to open up conversations and be courageous enough to talk about their own mental health, and of course talking about it is the first step to improving it."

  • Coronavirus: We must continue Mandela's legacy - Kolisi helping South Africa fight COVID-19 Coronavirus: We must continue Mandela's legacy - Kolisi helping South Africa fight COVID-19

    Siya Kolisi says it is vital Nelson Mandela's legacy continues as the South Africa captain opened up on his role in helping the country fight coronavirus.

    Kolisi, who skippered the Springboks to Rugby World Cup glory last year, was due to launch his foundation later in 2020.

    The outbreak of COVID-19 has launched Kolisi into immediate action and he has partnered with others to make donations to provide vital supplies to frontline medical workers tackling the crisis.

    An Instagram post from the flanker's foundation last week explained: "Whilst the Kolisi Foundation was months from launching with different projects in mind, we couldn't ignore the seriousness of COVID-19 so began to focus our energy and resources on supporting our frontline workers – supplying sanitisers and reusable masks. 

    "We are thankful that we have been able to lean on our incredible partners to support the project and will look to partner with other established organisations in the future to guarantee our work is as impactful as possible, addressing hunger and other areas close to our heart."

    Kolisi said part of his motivation is ensuring the work of former president Mandela continues.

    "I just think his legacy must still continue, the rainbow nation he wanted to see,"he told BBC Breakfast.

    "Actually working partnering up with the foundation, helping the frontline workers, we're all trying to attack the hunger and help the workers. 

    "Just thinking of other people, the way he lived his life, he always wanted to make South Africa better, that's what we're trying to realise to make sure his legacy continues and because we have a beautiful country, so much potential, we can achieve so much. 

    "Hopefully can inspire other people too."

    Kolisi is drawing on his own experiences of playing as part of a team to aid a country that has had over 1,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and has one of the world's strictest lockdowns.

    "It's really tough and I think playing in a team squad, this is going to be a team effort from everyone in South Africa and everyone in general, I think everybody has a role to play," he added. 

    "It's a time for people to stay at home and not leave our houses, we have a complete lockdown our president has acted swiftly. 

    "I think for people who are in a fortunate basis who can help others, food is a big problem at the moment, we're pushing hard on fighting the hunger, making sure people get meals there are a lot kids who go to school just to get one meal.

    "I'm trying to provide for that and making sure we help as much as we can."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.