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Nigel Wray stands down in wake of Saracens salary-cap woes

End of an era: Wray is standing down as Saracens chairman PICTURE: GETTY

NIGEL WRAY has retired as Saracens chairman with immediate effect but intends to keep financing the club.

Wray, 71, who has funded Sarries throughout rugby’s 25-year professional era, now intends to make way for a new independent chairman who will be ‘appointed imminently’.

The reigning Premiership champions were docked 35 points and fined £5.35million in November for breaching salary cap rules.

‘As we enter a new decade, it is time for the club to make a fresh start,’ said Wray. ‘I am not getting any younger and feel this is the right moment to stand down as chairman and just enjoy being a fan of this incredible rugby club.

‘I will always be committed to the wonderful Saracens family. The Wray family will continue to provide the required financial support to the club, and I will remain engaged in the work of Saracens Sport Foundation and Saracens High School, as part of the club’s ongoing commitment to our community in north London.’

Wray’s tenure saw a level of sustained success on domestic and European stages, with numerous players gaining international honours and starring in the Test arena, including the England trio Owen Farrell (pictured above), Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola.

However Saracens are battling to stay in the top flight this term following the points deduction for failing to disclose payments during the 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 seasons after an inquiry into business partnerships between Wray and some players.

They are currently bottom of the table, 18 points adrift of 11th-placed Leicester.

Edward Griffiths is returning to the club to take up the role of interim club chief executive for a 12-month period.

He will take over from Mitesh Velani, who will take a consultancy position at the club and remain on the Saracens board.

It is the right moment to stand down and just enjoy being a fan