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Wray steps down as Saracens chairman

PUBLISHED: 11:07 02 January 2020 | UPDATED: 11:08 02 January 2020

Saracens' chairman Nigel Wray (left) and Maro Itoje celebrate after winning the European Champions Cup

Saracens' chairman Nigel Wray (left) and Maro Itoje celebrate after winning the European Champions Cup

PA Archive/PA Images

Saracens have announced that Nigel Wray has decided to retire as club chairman with immediate effect.

Saracens' chairman Nigel Wray celebrates with the trophy after victory in the Aviva Premiership FinalSaracens' chairman Nigel Wray celebrates with the trophy after victory in the Aviva Premiership Final

The reigning Gallagher Premiership champions received a 35-point deduction and were fined more than £5million in November for breaching league salary cap regulations.

Saracens say that a new independent chairman will be "appointed imminently."

Wray, 71, has provided financial backing for Saracens throughout the sport's 25-year professional era.

And he says his family will "continue to provide the required financial support to the club."

In a statement released by Saracens, Wray said: "As we enter a new year, a new decade, it is time for the club to make a fresh start.

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"I am not getting any younger and feel this is the right moment for me 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 actively engaged in the work of the 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 at Test level, such as England trio Owen Farrell, Maro Itoje and Billy Vunipola.

Saracens, though, are battling to stay in the top flight this term following the points deduction for breaching salary cap regulations in the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons by failing to disclose payments to players following an inquiry into business partnerships between Wray and some Saracens players.

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

Saracens also announced that 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 assume a consultancy position at the club and remain on the Saracens board.

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