English Premiership club Saracens have indicated that they plan to appeal the fine and points deduction handed down following an investigation into unauthorised player payments.
The north London club, who are the current Champions Cup holders and back-to-back Premiership champions, have been fined over £5m and docked 35 points after an independent tribunal found that they that they had committed multiple breaches of Premiership player salary cap regulations.
The punishment will remain suspended until a formal decision is announced on whether or not the club will appeal. Payment of the fine would fall due within 21 days in the event t of a failed appeal.
An independent panel led by barrister Lord Dyson found the club had failed to disclose payments to players in each of the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons and had also exceeded the ceiling for payments to senior players.
The club won back-to-back Premiership titles and a Champions Cup over the period in question.
"For over 25 years, I have put my heart and soul into the game I love,” Saracens chairman Nigel Wray said in a statement.
“Together we have created something incredibly special with the Saracens family, both on and off the field.
"This is absolutely devastating for everyone associated with this amazing group of players, staff, partners and fans.
"It has been acknowledged by the panel that we never deliberately sought to mislead anyone or breach the cap and that's why it feels like the rug is being completely pulled out from under our feet.
“We will appeal all the findings."