Nigel Wray, who first invested in the club in 1995, said it was time for the club to make "a fresh start" Photo: Action Images

LONDON – Nigel Wray has retired as Saracens chairman with immediate effect, the English Premiership side announced on Thursday, two months after the club was punished for breaching salary cap regulations.

European and English champions Saracens were docked 35 points and also fined 5.36 million pounds ($7.08 million) by the Premiership in November after some players were found guilty of entering into business partnerships with Wray.

Wray, who first invested in the club in 1995, said it was time for the club to make "a fresh start" in the new decade.

"I'm 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," he said in a statement https://www.saracens.com/nigel-wray-retires-as-chairman.

"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."

Saracens confirmed Edward Griffiths will take up the role of interim CEO for a 12-month period, while Mitesh Velani will take up a consultancy position at the club and remain on the Saracens board.

London-based Saracens have dominated English rugby over the past decade, lifting the Premiership title five times and being crowned European champions on three occasions.

But their reputation was tarnished when they were sanctioned for breaching salary cap regulations over the past three seasons - a charge they decided not to appeal.

Saracens are bottom of the standings with -12 points after seven matches this season and 18 points from the safety zone.

Reuters