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'We are still left to speculate' | Wood bemoans lack of Saracens clarity

Off The Ball
Off The Ball

22:28 11 Nov 2019


Keith Wood has said it is difficult to fully condemn Saracens for their breach of salary cap rules when the Premiership has not provided due clarity on the issue.

Saracens were fined £5 million and deducted 35 points after being judged to have breached salary rules through investments in third party companies involving their players.

In light of the punishment, Head Coach Mark McCall said the club's focus this year lies primarily on survival in the Premiership.

While some have doubted the sincerity of McCall's comments and claimed that Saracens players will not want to disregard European competition, Wood argued that it could well be the club's genuine plan.

"Sometimes you have to cut your cloth and if they are fighting back a huge points reduction it may be to their benefit, on the back of a tough world cup for them as well," Wood said on this week's Monday Night Rugby.

"That [World Cup campaign] takes a huge amount out of those players. Will it be better for those England players and for England for them not be slogging it out for 20 matcher or 25 matches this season?

"And maybe if they aren't selected, is it better for them and will they get more out of them in the future? You wonder whether they will decide to attack everything."

Asked for his views on Saracens' punishment, Wood expressed his dismay at the lack of real information over the exact rules Saracens had broken.

"It's hard because we haven't got any of the details on this," the former Irish international told Joe Molloy.

"I actually think the Premiership are making it a bit difficult because they have not come out with the clarity on it.

"They say the co-investment idea is permissible as long as the investor pays the market rate for any shareholding. If he doesn't, if he overpays for it then it's considered salary."

The confusion, Wood said, stems from the idea that the investment in players' companies are fine but it depends on how they are treated when determining if they break the rules.

"Everybody is saying they know what happened, we don't actually. They haven't said exactly what has been crossed.

"We do know that Saracens have had the best squad in Europe for the last three or four years and that is supposed to be done with £7 million, plus two marquee players over the top of it. And it is hard to have that squad with that.

"The report that came out said that they failed the rulings but they hadn't fully itemised what ones they had failed, so we are still in this place of speculation," Wood said.

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Keith Wood Monday Night Rugby Premiership Saracens

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