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Saracens salary cap judge says: PRL should lift cloak of privacy

PRL

The senior judge who presided over the Saracens salary cap inquiry has urged Premiership Rugby to lift “the cloak of privacy” over his ruling.

Lord Dyson, former Master of the Rolls, says: “First and foremost, I agree with open justice.

“This was not a private arbitration. Rugby is a sport followed by millions. The public has a clear right to know how and why we reached our decisions.

“There were two particulary serious factors which influenced us and I wrote a summary explaining that. But PRL declined to publish it. I’d like to know why. The summary they did publish was so brief. What it doesn’t say, which I think is so bad, is why we reached our decisions.”

Lord Dyson’s comments on the blog LawinSport will come as an embarrassment to PRL, a fact he acknowledges. “PRL will probably disagree strongly with my remarks.”

Lord Dyson adds: “If the Saracens decision is made public it helps other rugby clubs to know what can and can’t be done. I can’t see a justification for the cloak of privacy that has been imposed.

“The RFU have a salary cap manager who knows about our judgement. But that’s not good enough. Clubs need to know as well so they can regulate their affairs.

“Saracens are a very famous club. Very successful businessmen have backed the club and done these things. I can’t see why the public should not be entitled to know the decisive reasons.

“There was a competition law challenge over the whole thing. The tricky question was whether or not transactions and arrangements the club had made for the benefit of their players amounted to salary within the very broad definition of the salary cap that is in the regulation.”

Lord Dyson also presided over the Peter Beardsley inquiry for the Football Association when the former England international was banned from football for 32 weeks after being found guilty of racially abusing black players while coach of the Newcastle under-23 team.

“My full judgement in that case was published,” he said.

The FA and world body FIFA have both adopted a policy of openness to judicial matters.

“There is a clear public interest in the Saracens case,” said Lord Dyson. “I don’t understand why this is all kept under wraps.”

DAVID EMERY

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