Saracens Rugby Club is a professional rugby union team based in London, England. Founded in 1876, the club has a rich history and has enjoyed a great deal of success over the years. However, in recent years, the club has become known as much for its off-field controversies as for its on-field achievements. In this blog post, we will explore the ownership of Saracens Rugby Club and how it has changed over time.
Saracens Rugby Club was originally founded by the Old Boys of the Philological School in Marylebone, London. Over the years, ownership of the club has changed hands several times. In the 1990s, Nigel Wray, a wealthy businessman and rugby enthusiast, became the majority shareholder of the club. Under Wray’s ownership, Saracens enjoyed a period of success, winning numerous domestic and European titles.
However, in 2019, the club was hit with a major scandal. It was found that the club had breached salary cap rules by paying players more than was allowed under the regulations. As a result, the club was fined and relegated from the top tier of English rugby. Nigel Wray resigned as chairman of the club in the wake of the scandal.
Following Wray’s departure, the ownership of the club has been somewhat murky. In January 2020, it was announced that a group of investors led by entrepreneur and Saracens fan Neil Golding had acquired a controlling stake in the club. The group, known as 365 Sport & Entertainment, also included former Saracens players Richard Hill and Alistair Hargreaves.
However, the exact details of the ownership structure have not been made public. There have been reports that some of the original shareholders, including Wray’s family, still hold a stake in the club. There have also been rumors of tensions between the new owners and the old guard at the club.
Nigel Wray was the longtime owner of Saracens before he stepped down as chairman of the club in the wake of the salary cap scandal. Wray had been involved with the club for many years, and his investment helped transform the team into a successful and competitive rugby club. However, the controversy surrounding the salary cap breaches led to his resignation and tarnished his legacy at the club.
In January 2020, a group of investors led by Neil Golding acquired a controlling stake in the club. Golding is a well-known entrepreneur and investor, and he is also a longtime fan of Saracens Rugby Club. He has been involved in a number of high-profile business deals over the years, and his investment in Saracens suggests that he sees the potential for the club to continue to grow and succeed.
Along with Golding, the 365 Sport & Entertainment group also includes former Saracens players Richard Hill and Alistair Hargreaves. Hill is a former England international and a member of the World Rugby Hall of Fame, while Hargreaves is a former captain of Saracens and a well-respected rugby pundit. Their involvement in the ownership group suggests that they see the potential for the club to continue to thrive both on and off the field.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the ownership of the club, Saracens has continued to perform well on the field. After their relegation in 2020, the team bounced back to win the second-tier Championship in 2021. They are currently competing in the Premiership and remain one of the top teams in English rugby.
In conclusion, the ownership of Saracens Rugby Club has changed hands several times over the years, with Nigel Wray and the 365 Sport & Entertainment group among the most recent owners. However, the exact details of the ownership structure are unclear, and there have been reports of tensions between the new owners and the old guard. Despite the off-field controversies, Saracens remains one of the top rugby teams in England and continues to perform well on the field.