Saracens: Nigel Wray sorry for 'ill-considered' salary cap approach

Nigel Wray with the Premiership trophy
Nigel Wray says his intention was to "support players beyond their playing careers"

Saracens owner Nigel Wray has apologised for the "ill-considered approach" to salary cap compliance which led to Saracens' relegation.

Premiership Rugby (PRL) released the Saracens report on Thursday.

Wray took "full responsibility" for failing to consult the league's salary cap manager before entering into co-investments with players.

"We should have been far better," Wray, who stepped down as chairman in January, wrote on the Saracens website.

"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. My intention with co-investments was always to support players beyond their playing careers.

"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.

"Equally important is the panel's determination that neither the club nor myself deliberately attempted to breach the cap."

Sarries will play in the Championship next term and had already been deducted 35 points and fined £5.4m in November for the three previous seasons' spending.

'Hugely disappointing for rugby - sports minister'

Sports minister Nigel Adams described the events at Saracens as "hugely disappointing".

Adams told BBC Sport: "I'm disappointed for the fans, sport should be a level playing field.

"It's hugely disappointing for rugby and it's absolutely right that the Premiership have taken the action that it has taken.

"But I feel sorry for the fans. The fans who go and watch these games like to think they are playing on a level playing field and Saracens have taken a decision not to do so. They have to take their medicine."

Asked whether the situation had left a lasting stain on the sport, Adams added: "I think it's absolutely right that the Premiership is going to undertake a review - it's a huge signal to the other clubs and it's crucial if you have a set of rules you adhere to them so it's only right you have a review.

"It has been a very sad period and something that the game's got to put right."

RPA's 'fundamental concerns' over leaked report

On Thursday Premiership Rugby released the report into Saracens' breaches of the league's salary cap that led to their 35-point deduction and £5.36m fine, however an unredacted version of the report was leaked that included details of the club's players.

The Rugby Players' Association (RPA) issued a statement in response expressing "fundamental concerns" about the leaking of the report which it said contained "confidential information regarding the players' identities and personal information".

"This injurious leak has significantly eroded player trust and the RPA will be working closely with Lord Myners in his forthcoming review of the PRL Salary Cap regulations to ensure that confidence can be restored amongst the players, clubs and supporters alike," the RPA said.

RPA chief executive Damian Hopley, who said the salary cap would be discussed at a board meeting next week, added: "Having been given absolute assurances that all confidential player information would be redacted, we were stunned that the entire report was leaked elsewhere to the press and this has caused untold damage to all parties concerned.

"We have taken up this breach of confidence with PRL as a matter of urgency and will continue to offer our ongoing support to all the players involved.

"The RPA stands by our position in support of the salary cap and the essential role it has to play in providing viability and stability for the English club game."

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