Saturday, February 08, 2020

OPINION : Again, Saracens' punishment does not fit the crime.

I don't want Saracens to be kicked out of Europe.  I want my Leinster to face them, and beat them, on the rugby pitch on April 4.

But I also don't like seeing unjust punishments being doled out, and I can't understand why the EPCR ruling couldn't take into account their indiscretions with the Premiership salary cap.  

When a team commits too many penalties in a match, referees often give a warning that another will produce a yellow card.  So while the next offence may not warrant it on its own, the infringing player still gets sent to the naughty step.

Also, when a player gets cited and banned from playing the game for a number of weeks, the sanction is not limited to the competition in which they did the deed.  So why are we all expected to separate two acts of wrongdoing from the same club discovered in the same season?

Of course I feel for their fans.  My words are not meant to mock them.  Any anger, disgust or ridicule I display through HarpinOnRugby is directed squarely at the clubs' "alickadoos" and as far as I'm concerned, their supporters' attention should be even more focused on them, because I know for sure I'd be apoplectic if it were happen to my team.

These punishments do not fit the crimes.  Saracens should not be considered Premiership champions during the years they admitted to breaching the salary cap; and for that alone, I'd also question if they should be allowed to defend their Champions Cup title this season.  

If this latest transgression was on its own, then the sanction of a "fine and slap on the wrist" would be perfectly fair.  But I really do feel that expulsion was warranted when everything is taken into account.  I'm not so sure the "ah sure it's easily done" argument holds up for an organisation that has already gone through great embarrassment on the administration front; if anything, it should have made them even more inclined to check all the i's were dotted and t's crossed.

Thankfully the Six Nations is here to take our minds off of this mess, but whenever things like this happen there's always another big match around the corner.  If we don't talk about it, fudged rulings like this will just keep on happening.  JLP


Taken by JLP from RDS press box on Nov 16, 2019