Saracens owner entered into ventures worth £1.3m with players

Nigel Wray, who resigned as club chairman this month, invested £450,000 in a company that was majority-owned by Saracens players Billy and Mako Vunipola, Sky News reported. Ben Stansall/AFP via Getty Images

A disciplinary panel report that found Saracens guilty of salary cap breaches states the Premiership club's owner Nigel Wray entered into ventures with players totalling £1.3 million, Sky News reported.

Reigning English and European champions Saracens were docked 35 points and fined £5.36m in November, and will be relegated from the top flight at the end of the season after failing to comply with salary cap regulations for the current campaign.

Premiership Rugby is set to release the 103-report after Saracens said they had no objection to it being made public.

The disciplinary panel found that Wray, who resigned as club chairman this month, had invested £450,000 in a company that was majority-owned by Saracens and England players Billy and Mako Vunipola.

He also made investments of £220,000 and £250,000 in companies owned by their teammates Richard Wigglesworth and Maro Itoje, respectively.

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Sky reported that Wray considered the payments to be equity investments and that profits and losses would be shared between all parties.

He was quoted as saying in his witness statement that the payments were "bona fide commercial transactions with a number of players based on the merit of those investments, not, as PRL [Premiership Rugby] suggests, to provide an additional reward to players for playing their rugby at the club."

Sky reported Itoje was paid £30,000 pounds, £30,000 pounds and £35,000 pounds for three years by a firm run by Wray's daughter that manages hospitality at their ground, although the club said it was a commercial arrangement by an independent company.

Saracens were also found to have broken salary cap rules in three consecutive seasons from 2016-17 although the disciplinary panel stated the breaches were not deliberate and had advised against their relegation.