The true fallout from the Saracens salary cap scandal is only just beginning.

After much initial bluster Saracens, Europe's leading club, will not contest their 35 point deduction and £5.36 million fine – the biggest punishment ever handed down by England's Premiership Rugby – for what has been labelled financial doping.

The extent of Saracens' cheating, which transpired over three last seasons, is yet to be published publicly but it can now be accepted that the club, through owner Nigel Wray who is worth around £315m, failed to disclose payments to several senior players.

This includes co-investments with England stars Maro Itoje, Owen Farrell and the Vunipola brothers, Billy and Mako, and the club's use of image-rights payments to offshore accounts.


Contrary to his initial strong reaction against the findings two weeks ago, Wray today accepted fault for Saracens salary cap breaches. The subsequent punishment immediately relegates the club from third to bottom of the Premiership on minus 22 points.

"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," Wray said.

"We have made mistakes and so, with humility, we must accept these penalties. As a club, we will now pull together and meet the challenges that lie ahead.

"We confirm our commitment to the salary cap, and the underlying principle of a level playing field, and will continue to work transparently with Premiership Rugby in this regard.

"We will shortly introduce robust independent governance measures acceptable to all. I will continue to support the club financially going forward to ensure there is no financial instability or uncertainty."

While Premiership rules dictate otherwise, there have already been calls for Saracens to be stripped of their titles.

Saracens have won five Premiership titles and three European Champions Cups since 2010-11. Two of those domestic titles came in the timeframe Premiership Rugby investigated.

Their three European successes all came within the past four seasons.


Exeter Chiefs lost three Premiership finals against Saracens and they are now left with same sour taste as the Manly Sea Eagles who endured similar frustrations during the Melbourne Storm's NRL salary cap breaches.

Exeter director of rugby Rob Baxter and former England captain Chris Robshaw have been among those leading the vocal outcry against Saracens in recent weeks.

When news of the salary cap punishment first broke, Saracens produced an emotional response to claim their away win at Gloucester without their headline internationals but maintaining that same passion throughout the remainder of the season will now be a major challenge.

Sacrifices are already evident with the defending champions effectively forgoing their European aspirations. In last weekend's opening Champions Cup round, Saracens fielded a second-string side in Paris and were duly thumped 30-10 by Racing 92.

Even when their English stars return they will be on restricted games and, therefore, the focus is expected to be put squarely on helping the club avoid Premiership relegation.

Wray claims Saracens are now "complying strictly" with the £7m salary cap regulations for this season but attention will soon turn to how they can retain their squad which features seven players from the 31-man England World Cup squad which lost the final to South Africa, and several other internationals.

With previous investments found to be out of line, some players may be forced to take pay cuts or could be offloaded to rival clubs.

There is also the prospect of losing major sponsors, with the Daily Mail reporting that Allianz, shirt and stadium sponsor, are weighing up their seven-year commitment to the now embattled club. Allianz plan to hold discussions with Saracens about whether they have a 'shared understanding' of the importance of 'transparency and integrity'.

Speaking to BBC Sport, England coach Eddie Jones admitted the scandal could have a major impact on the national team.

"Obviously there may be some dislocation between Saracens players and the rest of the clubs," Jones, Saracens' director of rugby in 2008/09, said. "That's a reality.

"So we may have to work to mend those relationships a bit harder, and there might be some Saracens players who feel like they've got to play for their club instead of their country, to make sure they don't go down. So we'll weigh all those up as they come about."

Alby Mathewson finishing with Munster

The former All Blacks halfback is preparing for his final game as Munster welcome Racing 92 to Thomond Park this weekend.

Mathewson's last game in Limerick will bring to a close a short term contract that grew into him becoming a fan favourite over the last 15 months – an NFL quarterback style quick lineout throw against Ulster one highlight in a stint that also saw him bag tries and impress with his experience and control from the base.

Munster have Irish halfback Conor Murray on their books and recently signed Nick McCarthy from Leinster. They also have Craig Casey and Jack Stafford coming through at nine, and with South African World Cup-winners Damien De Allende and RG Snyman set to join the province there is a need to offload non-Irish qualified players.

Mathewson, 33, has no firm plans, leaving him on the hunt for another club.