Premiership champions Saracens have revealed that Manchester United FC vice-chairman Ed Woodward is the man behind their hefty wage bill.
The London-based rugby union team were handed a 35-point deduction, a £5.36m fine and told to sit on the naughty step after breaching salary cap regulations for the past three seasons.
The punishment comes after an investigation revealed the European Champions couldn’t be defeated using conventional methods on the pitch.
“Giving every other club a 26-point head start was the fairest thing to do”, said a PRL spokesman.
The seven-month investigation involving specialist arbitrators ‘Sport Resolutions’ was delayed during the Rugby World Cup so that England head coach Eddie Jones couldn’t blame their inevitable failure on it.
According to reports, the five-times Premiership winners hired Woodward several years ago on the recommendation of Peter Ridsdale and he was immediately placed in charge of all contract negotiations and transfers.
Now it’s alleged the former investment banker sidestepped financial regulations by subsidising player’s salaries with extravagant gifts. The enquiry claims the 47-year-old accountant inundated players with exotic pets, works of art and even diamond encrusted gumshields.
“Ed has a unique way of negotiating contracts’, revealed one player who asked not to be named.
“Ed hits random numbers on his calculator with his eyes closed until no more digits will fit on the screen. Then he’ll multiply that by four and that’s your monthly salary”.
Other perks for players include a jock strap carved from ivory, pitch-side drinks bottles filled with 1959 Dom Perignon champagne and season tickets for Old Trafford – although very few Saracens players have taken up this offer.
It’s also been suggested generous Woodward awarded bumper new contracts to Saracens’ dinner ladies and laundry room staff, who have achieved parity with some of NBA’s highest-paid stars.
52-year-old canteen worker Lottie Rice, told us: “Since picking up the same wage as LeBron James, I’ve finally been able to put a new kitchen in. God bless Mr Woodward!”.
It’s understood the Premiership champions will launch an immediate appeal against the ‘heavy-handed’ sanctions.
Meanwhile, in a bid to trim the club’s wage bill, Woodward will send some of Saracens highest-earning stars to spend the remainder of the Premiership Rugby season on-loan at Inter Milan.