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Premiership

Saracens Chairman makes statement.

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(Photo by Henry Browne/Getty Images)

Statement below from Saracens Chairman, Nigel Wray.

Saracens today confirms that it is not going to appeal the recent ruling of the independent panel in relation to salary cap breaches.

Any review or further appeal would be a costly, time consuming and destabilising exercise and so for the good of the game, the Premiership and this wonderful club and all its great people, a club which I have loved and served for 25 years, we have decided not to appeal but to take our punishment and hopefully soon put this behind us.

I recognise that the arrangements between myself and players, made in good faith, which comprise the material element of the charges, should have been brought to the attention of the salary cap manager for consultation prior to entering into them.

It is significant that following extensive investigations the independent panel stated that we have “not deliberately sought to circumvent the regulations” albeit we recognise that some of our actions were considered to be “reckless”.

As chairman, I must take full responsibility for the arrangements that led to this outcome. It is important to stress that our excellent coaching staff were not involved in these issues in any way.

In addition, we can confirm that we are complying strictly with the salary cap regulations in the current season and will continue to work transparently with Premiership Rugby in this regard. 

We will shortly introduce robust independent governance measures acceptable to all, including the appointment to the Saracens board of a director, who will oversee a new governance regime. I will continue as always to support the club financially going forwards to ensure there is no financial instability or uncertainty.

This amazing club, which has been such a huge part of my family’s life and indeed of many, many others, has produced an incredible number of world-class rugby players. About ten of our current team have been together for between seven and ten years, as indeed have all the coaches; fourteen players have played over one hundred times for the Club and for me it is the caring and the closeness of everyone in the Saracens Family that achieves success throughout every part of our wide-ranging Saracens activities, both on the field and away from it.

Perhaps we have done the wrong thing for the right reasons, but we must now draw a line and come together as Saracens to fully support our players, our coaches and our hard-working staff.

Q&A

Why has the Club decided not to appeal the decision?

The Club believes that a review or further appeal would be a costly, time consuming and destabilising exercise. So for the good of the game, the Premiership and this club, we have decided not to appeal but to take our punishment and aim to put this behind us.

What does this mean for the season ahead?

The season ahead will be challenging but Mark McCall, his coaches and players will prepare for all of our games in the same focused, committed way and that will continue to be the case. We are a very tight family and this will only make us closer.

Does this outcome affect any of your Premiership titles?

No. The sanctions do not have an impact on any trophies the team has previously won.

Will the Club now be forced to sell players to comply with the salary cap?

No. The Club allocates a set budget for player remuneration which the CEO and coaching staff take full responsibility for. This budget falls within the salary cap and has no connection whatsoever to third party co-investments.

Is the Club now in compliance with the salary cap?

Yes. Under PRL regulations we are in compliance. 

How does this outcome affect the Club’s transfer policy?

It does not prevent the Club from signing new players in the future.

What has the Club done to make sure this doesn’t happen again?

We will now introduce robust independent governance measures acceptable to all, including a new appointment to the Saracens board who will oversee governance.

And longer term, what does this mean for Saracens Chairman Nigel Wray?

Nigel has been involved with the Club for 25 years and his support for the Club remains as strong as ever. He will ensure the Club moves forward from today in the right way as quickly as possible.

Premiership

Murphy leaves Leicester Tigers

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Leicester Tigers have today announced the departure of Geordan Murphy from his role as Director of Rugby at the club.

After discussions with Murphy about his current contract, which was due to end at the conclusion of the 2020/21 season, it was decided that it would not be renewed and, by mutual consent, it was agreed that Murphy would leave the club with immediate effect. 

Murphy joined Tigers as a teenager, making his senior debut in 1997, and went on to make 322 appearances in 16 seasons, including four years as club captain.

After retiring in 2013, having won eight Premiership and two European titles, Murphy moved into coaching and rose through the ranks as skills coach, backs coach, attack coach, head coach and director of rugby.

He is Leicester’s leading try-scorer and appearance holder in European rugby and is 17th on the club’s all-time tryscorers’ chart.

Speaking about his time at the club, the outgoing Director of Rugby said: “First, I want to thank my wife Aneka and my two boys, and our new addition on the way, for everything they have done for me and how they have continued to make me a better player, coach and person.

“As well as my family here in Leicester, and all of our friends, I want to thank my family and friends in Ireland for their support throughout my career at Tigers as a player and coach in the good and bad times.

“I have spent 23 great years at Leicester Tigers and forged great friendships with people throughout that entire period.

“I’m most proud of the respect I earned from my team-mates and colleagues, and I’m grateful to all of them for how they have helped me, supported me and shared in my time at this club.

“Winning has been the easy part. It is when things are not going well, when you are losing and having to get back up every day and put on a brave face, that you know who your friends are and, to all of those who supported me through those times, those are the friends I will have for life.

“I wish the club the very best for the future on and off the pitch, and say thank you to the supporters who have been a part of my life for more than 20 years.”

“His contribution of more than 23 years is unrivalled in the professional era and all of us had the privilege of watching Geordan play for Leicester Tigers before being afforded another privilege in working alongside such a passionate club man” Tigers Chairman, Peter Tom

Tigers Chairman Peter Tom thanked Murphy for his contribution to the club, on and off the pitch, since 1997.

“I want to express, on behalf of everybody at Leicester Tigers, my sincere gratitude to Geordan for all that he has done for our club for more than two decades,” said Tom.

“His contribution of more than 23 years is unrivalled in the professional era and all of us had the privilege of watching Geordan play for Leicester Tigers before being afforded another privilege in working alongside such a passionate club man. 

“I wish Geordan, his wife Aneka and their children all the best for what comes next and I know, when we are able to safely do so, we will afford him the proper send-off he deserves in front of all of our supporters at Welford Road.”

The club will not be recruiting to replace the Director of Rugby role but will now commence a recruitment process to identify candidates for a position in the organisation charged with overseeing the strategic vision and off-field responsibilities at Oval Park.

Tigers Chairman Tom added: “This decision, while difficult, was made to ensure we are as effective and successful an organisation as we can be at Leicester Tigers.

“Steve Borthwick understands the expectations of him, his coaching team and the playing group at Leicester Tigers on the pitch.

“We are determined to see this club back at the top, where supporters expect us to be, competing for trophies and are fully behind the players, coaches and staff on this journey.”

Statement from Leicester Tigers Ends.

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Premiership

Bristol trio sign permanent deals

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(Photo by Harry Trump/Getty Images)

Niyi Adeolokun, Tom Kessell and Peter McCabe have signed one-year contracts with the Bears.

The trio, who joined on a short-term deals at the conclusion of the 2019/20 campaign, extend their stay at Ashton Gate ahead of the new season.

Scrum half Kessell (two appearances) and wing Adeolokun (four appearances) both featured in the Challenge Cup final, while prop McCabe made three appearances in the Gallagher Premiership, scoring his maiden try for the club against Wasps at the Ricoh Arena.

Director of Rugby Pat Lam said: “All three of these guys have settled into the Bears culture well and made some positive contributions on the field, so we’re pleased to have them on board for the 2020/21 campaign.

“With another busy schedule ahead of us, and players set to be away on international duty or undergoing rehabilitation at the beginning of the new season, it’s important to ensure we have plenty of depth and cover in key positions.”

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Premiership

Leicester Tigers halt all training due to COVID outbreak.

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(Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

Statement from Tigers.

Leicester Tigers have taken the decision to stop all team training and close the club’s Oval Park training ground facility following a COVID-19 outbreak within the camp.

The club returned several positive tests for COVID-19 earlier this week following the latest round of Premiership Rugby’s COVID-19 screening programme, including members of the playing group and support staff.

As well as those players and staff who have returned positive tests being isolated at home, several members of the squad and support staff were also instructed to isolate after being identified as close contacts.

The club is working closely with Public Health England and Premiership Rugby to ensure the protocols in place are being followed across all departments to reduce the risk of any further incidents.

Leicester Tigers takes its responsibility to maintain high standards extremely seriously at this time and is confident in the measures in place.

Additional testing will take place tomorrow (Friday, November 6) for all players and staff ahead of Monday’s weekly testing in line with Premiership Rugby guidelines.

All players will now continue their pre-season programme alone in their household bubbles while the Oval Park facility remains closed.

Health, wellbeing and safety are paramount and all players and staff are being monitored by Tigers medical staff, in addition to their families being offered support where necessary.

Tigers have made the decision to pause all training commitments and close the training ground in a bid to maintain the integrity of the 2020/21 Gallagher Premiership season, which commences for the club on Saturday, November 21, as well as honouring our responsibilities to the Leicestershire community.

Statement ends.

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