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By patgadd
#1802
Erich Fromm said: "There is perhaps no phenomenon which contains so much destructive feeling as moral indignation, which permits envy or hate to be acted out under the guise of virtue".

Many of us (I include myself) bewail the way in which Saracens interpret the salary cap rules, but in Nick Cain's TRP article https://www.therugbypaper.co.uk/feature ... -saracens/ he says: My belief is that there is probably not a club in the Premiership which has not at some stage breached the salary cap regulations.

Well, it's only a journo's belief, but perhaps the moral high ground isn't as firm as we would like it to be.
User avatar
By bartyMJ
#1806
Have to say I imagine the last point may well be true. Everyone who drives a car has gone over the speed limit a bit, but we've been spotted doing 50 in a 30.

Firmly believe Nigel & co thought everything was above board... they wouldn't be daft enough to have something as obvious as "Wiggy9 Holdings" in the public domain if it was a genuine attempt to hide things. Surely?
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By WarriorsMisfit
#1807
bartyMJ wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 10:37 am
Have to say I imagine the last point may well be true. Everyone who drives a car has gone over the speed limit a bit, but we've been spotted doing 50 in a 30.

Firmly believe Nigel & co thought everything was above board... they wouldn't be daft enough to have something as obvious as "Wiggy9 Holdings" in the public domain if it was a genuine attempt to hide things. Surely?
Unfortunately all we can do is speculate. For what little my speculation is worth (if anything) I imagine it may come down to a difference between the wording and the spirit of the relevant rules.

I don't believe there was a definite attempt to hide things - BUT, I don't imagine for a moment they thought what they were doing was within the spirit of the rules (even if within the letter).

Making it obvious if looked into while not screaming and shouting about it - there's a definite defence. You're hedging your bets and can say, if caught, "we thought it was all kosher. That's why we didn't hide it" - which means you'll probably get a slap on the wrists and told that's not okay going forward - but you've effectively got away with it for however long. And you keep the additional defence of "we were helping players plan for the future".

If you'd done more to try and hide it and got caught - the first defence falls away and the additional defence loses credibility. You end up over a barrel with punishments to come for several seasons - at the risk of blowing away what you've spent some time and money building (and Sarries have built one hell of a team).

As for what happens now: there was some consternation when Italy played England and were able to "defend" from anywhere as they didn't form rucks. It had been around long enough, but once used (even with the ref's prior knowledge) - it caused some outrage and was closed down (rightly or wrongly) - but it was a knee jerk - so not necessarily done in the best or right way.

I imagine this will get shut down - but how to do it well will be tricky. And whether there is any punishment for Sarries beyond being told "you can't do this any more, or again" and a token slap on the wrists - I doubt.
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User avatar
By bartyMJ
#1810
The worrying thing for all parties is that apparently these arrangements were declared to the salary cap manager (although reports of some specifics missing). So surely at the time they were approved as 'legal'. If, under pressure, that opinion is changing it shows at the very least that manager isn't doing his job properly...
By SimonG
#1816
We know that both Quins and Wasps have marginally broken the salary cap in the past. I'm not sure of the exact Wasps situation but Quins reported themselves when they realised their mistake and were duly fined.

We also know that Saracens threatened legal action when they were previously accused of breaking the salary cap and they then paid a settlement fee so the report would not be published albeit with the approval of the other clubs with the ironic exception of Quins and Wasps.

I think the moral high ground looking down on Saracens is still pretty high.
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By bartyMJ
#1819
Guess it depends what the first Saracens (and Bath) breach actually was. From the way it was written and the reason that other clubs accepted it, it sounded like it was in yet another obtuse grey area that was open to interpretation. The huge mistake was not disclosing exactly what went on - would have allowed everyone to move on with the facts rather than the gossip and hearsay we still get today.

Certainly for Quins, and maybe Wasps (don't actually know the details of that one) it was a clear cut breach of the cap, but for very genuine and not devious reasons, hence a swift conclusion, done and dusted.

Whatever comes out of this situation, I really hope its transparent. If we've genuinely thought what we're doing is legit we need all the details right back to the original declaration to the salary cap manager, publicly available to stop all the sniping that's even coming from other clubs chairmen etc. If we've done something deliberately in breach of the cap, we deserve whatever punishment is required before the start of the season to allow all the clubs time to deal with the fall out.

The radio silence isn't helping anyone other than amateur detectives and pot stirrers
User avatar
By WarriorsMisfit
#1820
SimonG wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:17 pm
We know that both Quins and Wasps have marginally broken the salary cap in the past. I'm not sure of the exact Wasps situation but Quins reported themselves when they realised their mistake and were duly fined.

We also know that Saracens threatened legal action when they were previously accused of breaking the salary cap and they then paid a settlement fee so the report would not be published albeit with the approval of the other clubs with the ironic exception of Quins and Wasps.

I think the moral high ground looking down on Saracens is still pretty high.
Quins and Wasps both had public statements made stating the overrun and the fine that was paid - albeit not what caused the specific infringements (from what I can see).

I'm not quite sure I see the irony of Quins and Wasps objecting to Sarries paying a settlement fee with no statement. I imagine they felt that - having been through the due process, then named and fined - they felt that Sarries should go through the same process - with the difference of legal opinion (being the "complicating matter") being tested to establish a final position, whichever way it fell. That's how you help ensure the more level playing field between clubs that the salary cap is there for (among other things).

As far as moral high ground goes - not having intimate knowledge of financial matters at the club I support (Worcs) or others - I'm not touching that with a 50ft pole!
User avatar
By WarriorsMisfit
#1821
bartyMJ wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:45 pm
Guess it depends what the first Saracens (and Bath) breach actually was. From the way it was written and the reason that other clubs accepted it, it sounded like it was in yet another obtuse grey area that was open to interpretation. The huge mistake was not disclosing exactly what went on - would have allowed everyone to move on with the facts rather than the gossip and hearsay we still get today.

Certainly for Quins, and maybe Wasps (don't actually know the details of that one) it was a clear cut breach of the cap, but for very genuine and not devious reasons, hence a swift conclusion, done and dusted.

Whatever comes out of this situation, I really hope its transparent. If we've genuinely thought what we're doing is legit we need all the details right back to the original declaration to the salary cap manager, publicly available to stop all the sniping that's even coming from other clubs chairmen etc. If we've done something deliberately in breach of the cap, we deserve whatever punishment is required before the start of the season to allow all the clubs time to deal with the fall out.

The radio silence isn't helping anyone other than amateur detectives and pot stirrers
According to this, there was no breach, per se: Guardian Article from 2015

For me, the interesting part is this:

“We are not talking about loopholes but access to information and whether certain commercial contracts should be included in the calculation or not, which is where the differing legal opinion came in. It is not a legal requirement for us to have a salary cap, but one the clubs choose to have to help manage costs.

“We have reached a settlement which is a commercial agreement between two parties which does what it says, settles differences. It does not amount to a fine because that implies a sanction and there have been no breaches. I cannot get into the nature of the settlement. When you get to a point in any commercial relationship where there is a difference of views between two parties, an option is always to settle without one part being right and the other wrong, otherwise you are into a prolonged dispute. We are confident we have resolved the differences and we move on.


The first para (and the outcome) appears leads to (what I would suggest is) the letter of the rules vs the spirit. I imagine there were commercial contracts which were not anticipated being in place and not specifically required to be disclosed and counted as part of the cap calculations, but which it was felt were being used to bypass the salary cap (intentional or otherwise). Which, from what little we know, sounds *similar* to the current situation - albeit in a different manner.

Last time - rather than argue the legals (costs money, time and reputation on both sides - added to the fact Sarries could likely afford better lawyers) a compromise was agreed (again, guessing: no actual punishment, we'll sort so don't do that again and you pay the costs we've incurred looking at it).

Wholly agree on the radio silence part. But - alas - the best we can probably hope for is to be told an outline when it's all settled (I'd love to see the lot, but can't see that happening). Until then I imagine it's probably "commercially sensitive" and, while silence doesn't help, putting whatever evidence there is out in the public will only make things muckier and lead both "sides" to bad feeling and loss of reputation (And I can't see CVC, having invested what they have, being too happy about that)
By SimonG
#1869
WarriorsMisfit wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:47 pm
SimonG wrote:
Thu Aug 15, 2019 1:17 pm
We know that both Quins and Wasps have marginally broken the salary cap in the past. I'm not sure of the exact Wasps situation but Quins reported themselves when they realised their mistake and were duly fined.

We also know that Saracens threatened legal action when they were previously accused of breaking the salary cap and they then paid a settlement fee so the report would not be published albeit with the approval of the other clubs with the ironic exception of Quins and Wasps.

I think the moral high ground looking down on Saracens is still pretty high.
Quins and Wasps both had public statements made stating the overrun and the fine that was paid - albeit not what caused the specific infringements (from what I can see).

I'm not quite sure I see the irony of Quins and Wasps objecting to Sarries paying a settlement fee with no statement. I imagine they felt that - having been through the due process, then named and fined - they felt that Sarries should go through the same process - with the difference of legal opinion (being the "complicating matter") being tested to establish a final position, whichever way it fell. That's how you help ensure the more level playing field between clubs that the salary cap is there for (among other things).

As far as moral high ground goes - not having intimate knowledge of financial matters at the club I support (Worcs) or others - I'm not touching that with a 50ft pole!
The minor Quins and Wasps breaches occurred long after the Saracens settlement fee was paid so that was not the reason they objected.

I called their objections ironic because they both subsequently broke the cap albeit in a very minor way apparently due to admin errors.

It is also fairly common knowledge (spoken about publicly by Danny Care among others) that one of the reasons Conor O'Shea left Quins was his disgust that Saracens had been allowed to get away with a significant breach of the cap and that the PRL gave in to the legal threats and accepted the settlement fee rather than punish the club properly. He felt this meant the clubs were not operating on a level playing field.
User avatar
By bartyMJ
#1873
SimonG wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:49 pm
It is also fairly common knowledge (spoken about publicly by Danny Care among others) that one of the reasons Conor O'Shea left Quins was his disgust that Saracens had been allowed to get away with a significant breach of the cap and that the PRL gave in to the legal threats and accepted the settlement fee rather than punish the club properly. He felt this meant the clubs were not operating on a level playing field.
There's the classic "its common knowledge" argument that seems to be bandied about all the time. A few people say so therefore it must be true. Complete contradiction to the PRL statement above which explicitly states "there was no breach". So it's all just he said she said. Who you choose to believe depends on where your loyalties lie in the first place. Which is why, for the good of everyone, this time round needs to be more transparent.
User avatar
By WarriorsMisfit
#1875
bartyMJ wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:36 pm
SimonG wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:49 pm
It is also fairly common knowledge (spoken about publicly by Danny Care among others) that one of the reasons Conor O'Shea left Quins was his disgust that Saracens had been allowed to get away with a significant breach of the cap and that the PRL gave in to the legal threats and accepted the settlement fee rather than punish the club properly. He felt this meant the clubs were not operating on a level playing field.
There's the classic "its common knowledge" argument that seems to be bandied about all the time. A few people say so therefore it must be true. Complete contradiction to the PRL statement above which explicitly states "there was no breach". So it's all just he said she said. Who you choose to believe depends on where your loyalties lie in the first place. Which is why, for the good of everyone, this time round needs to be more transparent.
If there was a specific breach, we must assume PRL would have taken action. So it becomes likely (given a settlement, rather than action or dismissal) the matter of whether there was a breach is something PRL were not sure they would win if challenged in court. So they agreed there was no breach (presumably following legal advice a court would likely find the same) along with whatever agreement they came to with Sarries. It follows there was no breach - PRL (or whoever) as initial arbiter found it so.

This does not mean that rules were not gamed, but, categorically - there was no breach of the written rules found and any statement from DC, CoS of otherwise is factually wrong - no matter their personal opinion (I can't imagine either would be privvy to anything like the full facts).

DC and CoS may be entirely correct if they said Sarries breached the spirit of the rules (and none of us will ever know) - but based on the words you've used, that's not what they said (if you have sources, please link and I'll have a read). And even if they did say spirit of the rules - they would still be making conclusions and statements without full knowledge of fact.

For clarity I'm a Worcester fan. I want to see the cap enforced fairly among all. I'm not a fan of gaming the rules. There is little we can do or say about the prior Sarries agreement other than "the bag stinks, but we'll never see in or get to open it to find out why" and assume it was the best outcome PRL felt they could procure. I hate to say it, but it's best left gone.

For the current Sarries investigation - I would sincerely hope whoever is responsible would have put in a clause about the spirit of the rules after last time - that would help. And, given that they couldn't do something last time, you'd hope they'd have the bit between the teeth this time (if there is just cause) and they share the details with all clubs (I imagine we'll get breadcrumbs) - fool me once etc...
By SimonG
#1877
WarriorsMisfit wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 4:50 pm
bartyMJ wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 3:36 pm
SimonG wrote:
Fri Aug 16, 2019 2:49 pm
It is also fairly common knowledge (spoken about publicly by Danny Care among others) that one of the reasons Conor O'Shea left Quins was his disgust that Saracens had been allowed to get away with a significant breach of the cap and that the PRL gave in to the legal threats and accepted the settlement fee rather than punish the club properly. He felt this meant the clubs were not operating on a level playing field.
There's the classic "its common knowledge" argument that seems to be bandied about all the time. A few people say so therefore it must be true. Complete contradiction to the PRL statement above which explicitly states "there was no breach". So it's all just he said she said. Who you choose to believe depends on where your loyalties lie in the first place. Which is why, for the good of everyone, this time round needs to be more transparent.
If there was a specific breach, we must assume PRL would have taken action. ...
A very big assumption when the Saracens lawyers threatened legal action which would have potentially delayed the start of the season severly damaging income streams for the clubs. Hence the payment of a settlement fee to prevent the investigation results being published. As for the PRL saying there was no breach well the settlement fee caused that. After all if there was no breach why was a settlement fee paid?

No transparency at all last time. Will there be this time? Don't hold your breath!
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