Saracens fined for not attending Champions Cup season launch earlier this month

Saracens have been hit with another fine a day after they agreed not to appeal against a £5.36million punishment for salary-cap breaches.

Sarries have been penalised for breaching the 2019-20 Heineken Champions Cup participation agreement by not making required club representatives available for a key European Professional Club Rugby promotional event.

EPCR has fined the reigning Heineken Champions Cup holders an undisclosed sum, and confirmed it has already been paid by the club.

Saracens on Monday agreed “with humility” to accept a 35-point deduction and significant fine for breaches across a three-season period, up to and including the 2018-19 campaign, following a nine-month investigation by Premiership Rugby.

This latest episode adds to Saracens’ ongoing embarrassment.

Director of rugby Mark McCall and captain Brad Barritt had been scheduled to attend the official season launch of the 2019-20 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup for Premiership and PRO14 clubs, staged at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium on November 6.

But an EPCR statement read: “Having previously indicated that they would be represented at the event, Saracens’ failure to attend constituted a breach of the 2019-20 Heineken Champions Cup media rules, and compromised EPCR’s ability to deliver the rights contracted to its broadcast, commercial and media partners.”

The statement added: “In light of this breach of its rules, EPCR has decided to impose a fine on Saracens which has been paid by the club, and the sum of which will remain undisclosed.

“EPCR appreciates the subsequent efforts made by Saracens to grant rights-holding broadcasters special interview access to members of their Heineken Champions Cup squad in the week before the start of the tournament.”

The club – 26 points adrift at the foot of the Premiership on -22points – began their Champions Cup defence with a comprehensive 30-10 defeat at Racing 92 on Sunday.