No Champions Cup reprieve for Glasgow as Saracens escape with fine

English club punished for fielding ineligible player but keep place in last eight

Ali Price
Ali Price leaves the pitch after Glasgow's Champions Cup win at Sale. Image: © Craig Watson. www.craigwatson.co.uk

GLASGOW Warriors’ hopes of making it into the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup appear to have been definitively dashed after Saracens were  tonight (Friday) only fined for a breach of the rules governing players’ eligibility.

Earlier in the day it was announced there would be a hearing into an alleged breach of the rules by Saracens, and if the decision by a disciplinary panel were to rule the result of the pool match between Saracens and Racing 92 null and void, that would have meant a place in the last eight for Glasgow. Instead, organisers EPCR fined the reigning champions 50,000 Euros.

Both the club and EPCR can appeal against this decision, but it does now seem that the Warriors’ last chance of getting back into the tournament is gone. Glasgow’s chances of reaching the last eight by the conventional route were dashed last month when Saracens won their final pool match against Racing to finish as Pool Four runners-up on 18 points – one more than Dave Rennie’s team gathered in finishing second in Pool Two.

The hearing was called after Saracens themselves reported that their player Titi Lamositele had been ineligible to place against Racing after his work permit expired. A statement from EPCR explained:

“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, 7 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, 17 January.

“It was also explained that between the time of the match day squad announcement and the match itself on Sunday, 19 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.”

 

THE OFFSIDE LINE'S coverage of Glasgow Warriors is powered by MCCREA FINANCIAL SERVICES.

McCrea Financial Services sponsor Glasgow Warriors and provide a wide range of financial advisory services including mortgage, pension and retirement planning advice. See www.mccreafs.co.uk to contact them for more information.
About Stuart Bathgate 1155 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.

2 Comments

  1. So many examples of teams being deducted points for administrative errors so why weren’t Saracens? Too inconvenient to redo the draw?

  2. Racing 92 may want to disagree with the decision too, they’ve already said that they’re prepared to take action due to them ending up with an away QF due after their result with Saracens.

Comments are closed.