Back-to-back European champions Saracens future has been thrown into question after the Times reported this morning that the South Africans who own 50% of the club want to sell their stake.
Sarries have been England’s top club in recent years, and in a poor year for English clubs in Europe, they still made it to the quarter-finals where they were knocked out by Leinster on Sunday.
The success of the English club model, which sees the 12 clubs make a combined £30m loss, comes under further scrutiny as Saracens become the latest to be either put up for sale or seeking investment.
Currently, 11 of the twelve Premiership teams operated at a loss last year with reigning champions Exeter Chiefs the current exception.
Other clubs up for sales, such as London Irish and Worcester, have struggled to find buyers thus far.
Nigel Wray, the chairman and owner of the other 50% of Saracens, has said that the decision to sell will have no immediate effect as he can step in and buy them out.
Bu Wray denied the club is up for sale, sayinh: “Saracens are not for sale – that’s rubbish. Remgro are a billion pound company and the investment in the club is relatively tiny and they want to reduce that and I am going to buy their share. They have been fantastic partners and we will keep a relationship going because we want more South African players. Saracens will survive for a hundred years but I am not and so you have to create sustainability. We have major ambitions for one of the best club brands in the World.
“I am now the 100 percent owner and I have already got people expressing an interest and we will see how it evolves because there is no rush. Remgro put money into the club and that will be the case again because I haven’t sold any shares. Any money goes to the club to make it better, not me; this is a love affair but it’s not a blind love affair. I believe in what we are doing at the club and the family we have created and I have never added up what I have spent. Our losses are coming down every year.
“The West Stand is going to cost £22m which is a shedload of money but we have had offers of finance to fund it and it would be a normal banking arrangement. Hopefully, building could start before next season. We are creating something meaningful in the community and the school we have funded is opening in September and we are more than just a rugby club. “
However, to maintain the clubs operations in the long term, Wray will need to persuade other investors as he can’t be the clubs sole financial foundation forever.