Relegation from the Premiership could be scrapped at the end of this season with some of the game’s domestic superpowers in danger of the drop, believes former England wing Ugo Monye.
Saracens, champions in four of the last five years, are bottom after being docked 35 points for wage cap breaches.
“There are some big hitters down the bottom of the league,” Monye told Rugby Union Weekly.
“If one is relegated, if Newcastle come up, it is going to get ring-fenced.”
Saracens are 12th on -12 points, with Leicester, Wasps and Harlequins in 11th, 10th and eighth respectively.
Newcastle, who were relegated from the top flight at the end of last season, have made an impressive start in their bid for an immediate return, winning all seven of their matches to reach the top of the Championship.
Premiership boss Ian Ritchie told BBC Sport in December 2018 scrapping relegation from the top tier was being considered.
“There could be a massive case for someone to say ‘I am not having this, close it off’,” added Monye.
“As much as people want the Saracens story to go away, I can’t see it going away anytime soon.”
Danny Care, Monye’s former team-mate at Harlequins and England and Rugby Union Weekly co-host, believes Saracens’ breach of the league’s financial restraints may mean there is a moral case for doing away with relegation.
“At the end of the season when Saracens stay up, is it fair that that team goes down?” the England scrum-half said.
“What if Saracens are found to still be over the cap this season? Not much has changed in that squad this year. I still think there is more investigation to be done.
“Until there is full disclosure – everything is out in public, everyone knows what they did wrong, what the fines were for, how much they were over, and how they rectified it this year, if they have – nothing is going to change. People are still going to be asking questions.”
Exeter honesty ‘refreshing’ – Care
Saracens were beaten 14-7 by Exeter, who have lost Premiership finals to the Watford-based outfit three times in the past four seasons, on Sunday.
Exeter owner Tony Rowe and director of rugby Rob Baxter have both been critical of Saracens and the punishment meted out to them.
Rowe called for Saracens to be immediately relegated to the Championship, while Baxter said after the weekend win at Sandy Park that Saracens’ critics had been portrayed as “the bad guys”.
“I found Rob Baxter’s comments kind of refreshing,” added Care.
“Not many people have stuck their heads up and said how they feel, but Rob has laid it out how he and the club feels, and it has almost galvanised his team a little more to go and beat Saracens.
“As players you have to back what your director of rugby says.”