Saracens Director of Rugby Mark McCall has broken his silence to address the £5.6 million fine and 35 point deduction handed out to his side for breaching Premiership salary cap rules.
McCall and captain Brad Barritt were due to speak to the media in Cardiff earlier this week for the Champions Cup launch but did not turn up. However, prior to their Premiership clash with Gloucester, the former Irish player performed pre-match media duties and spoke to BT Sport about the sentence.
"It has been a really challenging week as you can imagine. I am thrilled with how the players and staff have rallied during the week and gotten on with the task at hand which is all we can do.
"This group, in particular, have shown a lot of grit and toughness over the last four weeks and we are going to have to show that today."
When asked did he as director of rugby ever question whether the club were over the salary cap, McCall maintained he could not answer that.
I understand why you are asking me that question but hopefully, you understand the club are appealing the decision and in those circumstances, it is probably not right for me to add to what has already been released by the club.
How did it happen?
How does this impact the squad?
How did the players respond?
Saracens' Director of Rugby Mark McCall addresses the salary cap breach for the first time. pic.twitter.com/CN2wTZDfLD
— Rugby on BT Sport (@btsportrugby) November 9, 2019
While European Professional Club Rugby did release a statement after Saracens no show this week to state they "will now consider what action is appropriate" they cannot act on the salary cap issue itself.
Speaking to Balls.ie's rugby podcast, World In Union, Rugby and the law editor Ben Cisneros explained why the sanctions were limited to this season and the domestic competition.
"I can see why people feel like it undermines European competition but ultimately these regulations only apply to the Premiership and Premiership Rugby only have jurisdiction over the Premiership. They can't really do anything in relation to the European Cup itself.
"I agree it is a bit odd that the Premiership regulations only provide for sanctions to take effect in the current season. It really does seem odd that there can't be anything done retrospectively.
"The regulations do not provide for any sort of title stripping or retrospective sanctions in any way."