A Sportsmail investigation into Saracens has found that the Premiership club could be breaking salary cap rules.
The four-month long investigation has noted that property entrepreneur and club owner Nigel Wray has particular financial stakes with four current players.
The players in the frame are England captain Owen Farrell, Richard Wigglesworth, and both Billy and Mako Vunipola.
The salary cap set by Premiership Rugby Ltd is £7 million with clubs also being allowed to have two ‘marquee players’ whose salaries are excluded.
However, the investigation would raise the question as to whether the Sarries have been abiding by these rules.
The four players are all said to have shares in businesses with Wray, but it is doubted that these have been reported to club salary cap manager Andrew Roberts.
Farrell has a 50 per cent share in Faz Investments Ltd, a financial management company. Wray owns the other half of the company.
Wigglesworth is involved with Wiggy9 Investments in which he is the sole director occupies a 65 per cent share in the company with Wray owning the other 35 per cent.
The Vunipola brothers have 33.3 per cent shares in VunProp Ltd and are also directors of the property company.
Along with this it is believed that Wray has a share in property that is directly linked with players who have played for the club such as Schalk Brits and Jim Hamilton.
The players were living in the houses in question and it is wondered whether these ‘bonuses’ were accounted for in the annual club’s salary caps.
Saracens who have won three Premiership titles in four seasons along with two Champions Cups have eight current England stars on their books and will have nine come next season when Elliot Daly swaps over from Wasps.
Sportsmail understands that rival clubs will now ask for a full investigation into the matter while Premiership Rugby have declined to comment at this moment in time.
Any wrongdoing will see serious punishment for the club, but for now we will have to wait and see what happens.
Saracens have since released a statement:
Club Statement – Co-investment partnerships between the Saracens owner and players.
Following a newspaper article, the Club would like to make the following statement:
“Firstly, we would like to reiterate that the Club readily complies with Premiership Rugby salary regulations and information relating to remuneration is declared to the salary cap manager. Although co-investment partnerships between owners and players are not a prerequisite of the salary regulations, we disclose these transactions to Premiership Rugby and will continue to do so.
“Currently, 57% of the men’s squad is comprised of home grown talent – the highest in the Premiership. These players not only produce results on the pitch, they help entitle the Club to £1.2m in credits above the baseline salary cap from the RFU and Premiership Rugby. This is a direct result of our significant investment in the Saracens Academy which nurtures and develops Saracens and England players of the future.
“A professional playing career in rugby can be short. We have a responsibility to help our players fulfil their potential, not just on the pitch but off it too. It is why our Academy incorporates an education programme that actively prepares players for life beyond the sport. We are encouraged that many of our senior players are exploring business opportunities away from rugby.”
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