Disciplinary Verdict: Saracens
Saracens have been fined €50,000 (euro), €25,000 of which is suspended until the end of the 2020/21 season, following an independent Disciplinary Hearing in London this evening (Friday 7th February) arising from the club’s Heineken Champions Cup, Round 6 match against Racing 92.
Saracens had informed EPCR earlier this week that one of their established players, USA international Titi Lamositele, who was named in the match day squad, and who came on to the field of play as a replacement in the 60th minute of the fixture at Allianz Park, may have been ineligible due an inadvertent administrative error on behalf of the club.
As this error may have constituted a breach of the Disciplinary Rules of its 2019/20 Participation Agreement, EPCR decided to bring a misconduct complaint against Saracens and the complaint was heard by an independent Disciplinary Committee consisting of Roger Morris (Wales), Chair, Pamela Woodman (Scotland) and Jean-Noel Couraud (France).
The Committee considered submissions from the EPCR Disciplinary Officer, Liam McTiernan, from the Saracens Chairman, Neil Golding, and from the club’s legal representative, Paul Harris QC.
The Committee heard that Lamositele was eligible for the Heineken Champions Cup, Round 6 fixture against Racing 92 when Saracens announced their match day squad on Friday 17th January.
It was also explained that between the time of the match day squad announcement and the match itself on Sunday 19th January, Lamositele’s work permit expired and that Saracens were not aware of this due to an administrative oversight.
The Committee accepted that Lamositele’s work permit had expired unbeknownst to the club, and that Saracens had not sought to gain any unfair advantage by selecting the player.
The Committee then decided to uphold the misconduct complaint as Saracens had breached EPCR’s Disciplinary Rules, and a fine of €50,000 was imposed on the club.
Chair of the independent Disciplinary Committee, Roger Morris, said: “Following careful consideration of a complaint involving a player who has been contracted to Saracens since 2014, and who remains contracted to the club, the Committee believes that this was an unfortunate sequence of events brought about by an administrative oversight. However, Saracens are in breach of the Disciplinary Rules of the Heineken Champions Cup, and that breach constitutes misconduct which can be proportionately dealt with by way of a financial penalty.”
Both Saracens and EPCR have the right to appeal the decision.