Munster's Heineken Cup pool opponents Saracens have been hit with a big points deduction and hefty fine for breaches of salary cap regulations
MUNSTER'S Hienken Champions Cup opponents Saracens have been handed a 35-point deduction and fined more than stg£5m by Premiership Rugby after being found guilty of breaching salary cap rules.
The points deduction coming into immediate effect in the Premiership.
The charges relate to a failure to disclose player payments in each of the 2016/2017, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019 seasons.
The five times that Saracens have finished as Premiership champions, a 35-point deduction would have meant they would not have reached the play-offs.
An statement from Premiership Rugby announced: "The charges, which relate to the seasons 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19, were brought in June 2019 following a nine-month investigation by Premiership Rugby.
"The decision of the Independent Panel is that Saracens Rugby Club failed to disclose payments to players in each of the seasons 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19.
"In addition, the Club is found to have exceeded the ceiling for payments to senior players in each of the three seasons.
"The Salary Cap Regulations stipulate that a points deduction may be imposed in the current season (2019-20) only."
Munster are due to face Saracens in two back-to-back fixtures in the Heineken Champions Cup next month.