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Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Barty II (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 12:59

Thanks for some clarity. Can't say I have the sanity to read the entirety of the report to be honest!

I'd rather just accept what's happened, take my year or two watching championship rugby, and come back again squeaky clean. Suppose various forces might stop that still.

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Saint (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 14:12

Wilson Pickett
The Saracens message board mods are now deleting any posts that question this years cap overspend, best off not reading that echo chamber

They have banned me from posting -I didnít think my posts were as challenging as yours winking smiley

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Duckonstilts (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 14:22

Barty, I hope the same for you. Enjoy the championship, its actually a wonderful place to visit for a year. You will reconnect with Rugby in a way you will not even expect. Take the chance and go to away games :-) The food, beer and company is mostly fantastic.

As for the management of your club, it needs a clear out (which seems to be happening~) You might loose some of the team and you might never get back to the same heights again (who knows) but at least it will be honest and thats what matters in sport.

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Saint Stokey (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 14:58

I'm blocked too and likewise, I don't think I made any comments that were ban worthy.

Perhaps they've done a blanket ban of anyone with 'Saint' in their name.

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Merlin-k (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 15:05

Iím going to go nerdy on this publication of the report. I love it. Fascinating.
Up until now the discussion has been ďdid they break the capĒ. But this report shows it is a more basic issue. In reality Sarries never question whether they broke the cap, they did it knowingly.
It seems a major argument by Saracens is that the salary cap is not legal as it is contrary to competition law. That is a very different position than this was an oversight. This is an argument that we know there is a cap, we have a gentlemanís agreement to abide by it, but it isnít enforceable so we canít be bothered to comply. They are saying they knew they were in breach but it doesnít matter because the basic tenet is wrong. Venali (I keep wanting to type Vetinari) thinks that ďmaybeĒ there should be a cap, Wray thinks there should be but that the current cap is wrong. Ultimately the Defence is because I believe it is wrong I can ignore it. And a definite message is that when they were spanked in 2015 then there is no way they intended on behaving subsequently.
They then argue that the cap is anti-competitive. Thatís an interesting line as the reason for the cap is to ensure competition. They are arguing that the cap leads to a poorer quality product. This is an interesting argument. We repeatedly say that English clubs cannot compete against French ones because of the difference in spend so, on the face of it, this argument is true. I donít believe that exonerates Sarries because, fundamentally, they had an agreement that to play in the premiership they would abide by the rules. However, what this does do, is raise the question of whether there needs to be another tier of English rugby, an elite tier where there is no cap for 4 or 6 (?) regional teams. Of course, this approach destroyed welsh rugby at a club level, but letís forget that.
There is a potential argument that the cap restricts a players rights by limiting their pay. But the cap does not limit an individuals pay. It means a club has to juggle the payment. They argue that the cap means players will go elsewhere. But this is not what we see. Yes, Conus is going to France to end his career, but he came to England first. An English club could spend 5 mill on one player, they jut donít have much left for the rest of the squad. A cap does not mean a club canít pay the going rate, just that you canít have everyone as top level.
Also interesting is that they turn on their own former CEO and attempt (unsuccessfully) to undermine his credibility. Despite the fact that their current CEO quoted, almost verbatim, the Defence used by McCafferty in 2015.
By the way, I love the aside that the Sarries have NEVER (my caps) made a profit and rely on their owners support).

OK. Iíve only got to page 29 but I need to get a flight to Paris so Iím stopping now. But the major, major point is that this was never about whether they broke the cap. It was done knowingly and willfully because they didnít believe in the cap. All the main arguments are about this. Actually arguing over whether image right is or is not a breach is moot. Sarries were looking for what they could get away with because they thought the system wrong. THAT is an incredible revelation.

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Neil-H (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 15:23

Keep reading Merlin and feed back please!

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Saint For Life (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 15:27

Saint For Life
Not convinced it will be more interesting when full report issued . IMHO the final report will raise more questions than answers , lead to numerous interpretations by posters , will not be understood by many posters etc etc . I guess what would have been more interesting would have been the original draft presented to PRL and Saracens for discussion - probably much harder hitting , more direct conclusions etc. From my professional experience you go in hard at the draft stage , guilty party agree reluctantly that they have been caught out and are going to get punished and then fight / threaten litigation or whatever to tone down wording just in case it ever gets into the public arena (eg Tone down from you have cheated and corrupted the game to you have made a big mistake albeit not deliberately - final outcome re punishment still ok but final report far less confrontational / less damaging and more acceptable to individuals involved .
We will see soon enough - hopefully after the weekend by which time I will be in South Africa !

After just spending over 2 hours reading the report my conclusion would be :

1) Saracens actions lucky to be classified as reckless ( serious enough ) rather than Deliberate .
2) Saracens given yellow card in 2015 - did not learn / ignored any lessons and have carried on regardless
3) Saracens have challenged everything and lost in almost every instance . Questioned /pressurised/ and not helpful re providing info etc to SCM
4) The word cheating not used in report ( as expected) but I doubt any ďnormal /fair minded ď person would not conclude anything else.
5) The SCM comes across as a professional who has done a good job - albeit undermined / ability questioned at every stage by Saracens.

If you want a laugh read para 86 - I nearly fell of my chair .

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Saint Maul (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 15:29

Nigel Wray press release following the report publication

He's still making excuses.

A more pertinent question is why a statement is being released by Saracens from someone who has purportedly stepped back from any control or involvement with the club. It shows despite the share transfer to family Wray continues to be the puppet master of Saracens. What he is saying is at complete odds with what the CEO and Chair have said in apologising and taking responsibility.

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Longers (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 15:35

Saint Maul
Nigel Wray press release following the report publication
He's still making excuses.

A more pertinent question is why a statement is being released by Saracens from someone who has purportedly stepped back from any control or involvement with the club. It shows despite the share transfer to family Wray continues to be the puppet master of Saracens. What he is saying is at complete odds with what the CEO and Chair have said in apologising and taking responsibility.

Not only that, but if they do have a PR firm contracted surely the PR people should be able to see just what nonsense Wray is talking. For an intelligent man, every time he opens his mouth, he makes matters worse.

Tell him to shut up!

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Merlin-k (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 16:03

But the Sarries supporters are buying the letter from Wray. I said before, gaslighting. Keep telling our reality and enough people will believe it. Itís what Iím constantly exposed to in US politics. This is an Orwellian world. Enough people will fall in line. I find that letter from Wray shocking, itís ďpoor me, I did it for the good of the players and the game and look, it was only a little bit.Ē But the report shows a fundamental disregard and arrogance that everyone else is wrong.

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Flook (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 16:10

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: St. Andy (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 16:42

May I say I have no contacts, no inside information, but I was in the police force for 17 years, most of it as a detective and often worked closely with the forces commercial fraud department, so this may give me a certain angle.

At the moment, especially on the Saracens board, they are, understandably looking for any little nugget to mitigate the case for the defence. I especially feel for the old time fans, who have done no wrong and wish them the best. But what they and some of us are looking at is the minutiae of the case, we are maybe failing to see the wood for the trees.

This sort of case is by no means unique in life in general, or sport in general but is probably the worst of its kind in rugby. It is about people, and one man in particulars hubris and arrogance, it is about money, it is about deceit. And in my view is not about this year, or the last three years, or even the last ten. It goes back to the last century. Also, like many cases it is not so much the crime that is seen as so heinous it is the continual cover up, with only anything actually being admitted once the evidence is overwhelming and not a hint of real contrition or apology to all the thousands of fans, employees and players of other clubs whose time, money, glory and medals they have stolen

Mr. Nigel Wray is not remembered fondly by Nottingham Forest Football fans, he had money, but wanted to be the sportsman who was parading around the pitch with the big silver cup. Unfortunately, money cannot buy you sporting talent for yourself, so the only way is to get others to do it for you. Mr. Wray realised, that even with his large wealth, the way football was going this was never going to be nearly enough to compete with the billionaires on the way. And he was right.

Rugby on the other hand was in its professional infancy and very much finding its feet. In the first instance I think there may have been a genuine attempt to grow the club and the fan base, with the free tickets, gimmicks and matches at Wembley. "If you build it they will come", but they didn't.

I remember us all being told that the astronomic losses were temporary and the club planned to at least break even within a few years. Eventually that message stopped and the South Africans had arrived complete with riches beyond the dreams of avarice. This I believe is where the rot really set in.

In spite of all the money. it could not be spent because of the salary cap, but that cap was only voted in by a slender majority, Mr Wray had to sign up to it and looked the other owners and stakeholders in the eye and lied to their faces, it looked like it was not taken particularly seriously by a number of clubs anyway. Saracens however were the ones who pushed it the most, with a myriad of South African stars gracing their team. And so the period of domination began, rumours abounded about monies and property being paid in South Africa.

The Saffacens era eventually evolved, into hoovering up UK and especially English talent and an academy which was excellent, although not quite as excellent as they would have us believe because it has been allowed to operate in a way that would have been impossible if abiding by the cap. This was a good plan because not only were the best English players playing for Saracens, they weren't playing for anyone else in the Premiership. It became increasingly suspicious that every other club would have to lose star players to stay within the cap, but Saracens never did in fact it was often Saracens they would go to. It was then the spin machine had to click into gear, it was about the academy, it was about the facilities, it was about the medical care, it was about the creche, it was about the bonding trips, the brotherhood, the wolfpack. The only thing it was never about was the money. And every signing, had the tagline attached "There is something special was happening at Saracens." Well at least that bit was true.

To keep the whole thing rolling on they managed to get one and then two marquee players outwith the cap. They could snap up a couple of players others could not afford, pay them what you like, thereby tilting the balance but it was not enough.

The deception was now in full swing the trophies were flooding in, but that was still not enough, now it was time to really rub our noses in it. From a Saints point of view, who can forget the free beer tent and the march en mass to the stadium. The loud singing of "their" song in the dressing rooms. In the stands, waving their free flags singing as "When the Saints go marching home," after yet another drubbing. Away from home, the lack of grace by putting a 2014 league champions sign up when they had lost the final, and the guard of honour with children in arms BEFORE the match.

Meanwhile me and I am sure many other fans across the country, would year after year scan down the team sheet and especially the replacements and ask ourselves, how do they actually, really afford all this lot and be under the cap.

And so it went on and progressed from domestic to European domination and matches in the USA.

This brings us to three years ago and it would seem the other clubs, who obviously knew more than they would ever let on to the ordinary supporter, decided this could not be allowed to continue, but because a couple of other clubs had breached the cap by a small amount, it was decided that a fine would be paid, a line drawn and the whole thing brushed under the carpet. Again Mr. Wray looked them all in the eye and agreed.

He knew though that to comply in future he would have to reduce his squad, less cups perhaps, less lovely photos of him and his team on the pitch with the big silver cup. "Can't have that, we'll do what we did last time and find a way round it." But this time it was supercharged, it would seem schemes were hatched and lot of money paid to lawyers for opinions. But opinions are exactly that, and different lawyers have different opinions. So instead of taking the schemes to the league to get them signed off or not, he ran with it and the salary cap breach sky rocketed. The likes of Saints were being thrashed by 50 or 60 points every time we played them. Enough was finally enough and an independent inquiry has been done. Of course by this time, it seems the South Africans had seen the writing on the wall and perhaps that Mr. Wray had become a loose cannon and left the scene.

Now it is perfectly fair to argue that the results of this inquiry have been handled badly with diplomatic language used, redactions and the thing coming out piecemeal, revealing slowly a picture emerging. That said it is clear Saracens have no way of getting below the cap this season and thus if they could make up the 35 penalty, with an illegal squad then the result would be an innocent club relegated. This would have been unacceptable. But even then they could've taken the forensic audit option, so I suspect they know that what that would reveal would damn them to relegation anyway. But before this we once again got the old lines about the academy, and perhaps the most sickening of all, the co-investments "looking after players futures." But it emerges not the marquee players futures, can pay them as much you like anyway, not the fringe players futures. No, only the ones we need to make it look we are paying less, to keep them and stay under the cap.

And so to the future, it seems that the RFU are bending over backwards for the Saracens players, Farrell is on about staying on, fine what about the others? The problem now is Saracens RFC need to cut all ties with Nigel Wray to come back with any integrity at all, but without his money they are a complete basket case, nobody is going to want to back them and the sponsors are already decamping. The brand is toxic. How then are they going to pay these players, even the vastly reduced amounts that they would need to to get under the cap? They certainly dont have the fan base to do it.

So the sorry saga draws to a conclusion, where nobody comes out with much credit. So I think the words of the character Valery Lugasov, who was the nuclear scientist who carried out the Soviet investigation into the Chernobyl. And no I am not saying the two are comparable but the words from the TV series where he told the truth and thereby damned himself to exile until his later suicide, are apt:

"Our secrets and our lies, they are practically what define us, when the truth offends we lie and lie until we can hardly remember that it is even there. But it is still there. Every lie we tell incurs a debt to the truth, sooner or later that debt is paid."

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Wilson Pickett (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 17:00

Nigel Wray still lying his backside off in the press release

Does he have no shame ?

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Abington Adam (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 17:10

Great post Andy!

Church's Stand season ticket holder
EMRU Referee

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Wilson Pickett (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 17:11

EDIT - much as it's a brilliant post please don't quote massive posts in this thread it isn't great on mobile devices

A brilliant and faultless summary Andy, I think this should be an article but it would create too much aggro.

By the way, why the hell is Wray making a club statement when heís given his shares to his kids and has resigned as first Chairman and now Director

If he thinks this sweeps it under the carpet and after one year in the Championship we will welcome back a Galacticos team of stars with a poxy match day attendance on a plastic pitch then he can think again

Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 23/01/2020 17:15 by Saint Ted.

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Man from LA (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 17:11

So despite all of the euphoria earlier today by Salarysins fans that they'd somehow been wronged (one poster on their forum said that the tide of public opinion was turning for them), people have read the report and (most) are not buying the spin of their apologists in the media or in the choreographed public letters Saracens put out. They had a yellow card in 2015 for breaking the rules and instead of being squeaky-clean after that, they ignored it, thereby being repeat offenders. Anything they say now should be taken with a large dose of salt.

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Wilson Pickett (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 17:16

I have friends that support Quins, Wasps, Irish, Sale and Tigers. Theyíve all in a group chat said they donít believe a word he says..... that horse has bolted and his statement is frankly a @#$%& take

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Saint Ted (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 17:19

Very nice post Andy, well thought out and written, some good points many I agree with (Please nobody quote the whole post, if you quote it mobile users will struggle!)


I've read all 103 pages of the report.

Much as I think what sky did last night was wrong, it helps when doing some maths around it.

I'll add write down my full thoughts on it later, sometimes this helps when trying to digest all the information and can make a more informed opinion, well for me anyway, but I went into it with an open mind. I'll be honest, if your of the ilk that you've made your mind up on the situation already, no matter what it says in the report or anything that comes out in press releases it's probably not going to change your mind. I wouldn't bother reading the whole thing. It's long and other than giving us some more exact figures and methodology, all it does is confirm what we all knew anyway.

Anyway, my brief conclusion...

Not only is Wray a cheat, I'm not going to say Saracens are cheats because there are some good people there who aren't cheats, this lies with Wray and a couple of others, but he's also an idiot and whoever was signing everything off was an idiot.

Based on what we have (high degree of possibility that there is still more that wasn't exposed but we can't include that). For all of the trouble this has caused it would appear on face value that it didn't need to happen. If they had let ****BLANK**** go when he turned into a 'superstar' and restructured a couple of contracts they could have either a) fallen under the cap or b) been an amount over it that given the rules of those seasons only amounted to a small fine, not even a points deduction even with the house shares!

So having given that some thought, there is no way at all that all the info came out in the report, not even close.

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Wilson Pickett (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 17:37

Good summary Ted. Just finished it also. Happy to say Iím certain way more will come out and subsequent PR is a cover up job

As expected

As SaintForLife says paragraph 86 is hilarious

Re: Sarries and the salary cap thread
Posted by: Chris Hoddle (IP Logged)
Date: 23 January, 2020 17:39

It still bugs me that they are in a position that can control who goes in to the play offs and the Champions cup next year. AS they could decide to play a weakened team against a Prem team to allow them to win. They are going down, so some fine wont really bother them if it means a team cant win as many trophies as they have?

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