Harlequins and England scrum-half Danny Care says Saracens should be forced to play in the Championship for the length of time they broke the salary cap.
Saracens face being docked 35 points and fined £5.36m after an inquiry into business dealings between owner Nigel Wray and some of the club’s players.
Premiership Rugby say Saracens were breaking the cap for three seasons.
“Stick them in the Championship for that long and see if their players stay and want to play for them,” said Care.
He told the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast that Saracens, who have a host of star names from England as well as Wales’ Liam Williams, Scotland’s Sean Maitland and South Africa’s Vincent Koch on their books, had long been suspected of acting outside the rules.
“I hopefully speak for every other player in the Premiership, I know for everyone at Harlequins, that everyone kind of knows this has been going on for years and no-one’s ever been able to say anything about it,” said Care.
“In a one-on-one game we know we can challenge them, we know we can beat them on our day, but when you’ve got that much class, that much international experience, throughout the whole season you know in the long run you’re going up against a team that, let’s face it, have been cheating.”
‘It affects people’s lives’
Care was a member of the Harlequins side that were crowned Premiership champions in 2012, an achievement he says was “one of the greatest moments of my life”.
But he believes people within the sport may have had their livelihoods affected because of the dominance of Saracens, who have won the title four times since 2015 and have also lifted the European Champions Cup three times.
“People lose their jobs because they’re not performing well enough because everyone’s saying ‘why aren’t we as good as Saracens?’,” said Care.
“It comes out that that’s happening because they’re cheating. Well it’s not just the hear and now, it affects people’s lives, it affects people’s families, and that’s why so many players have been so annoyed.
“Over the years that it has been swept under the carpet, there was another one previously that got brushed aside, this one has finally come out and finally some justice is being done, although £5m to Nigel Wray won’t even touch the sides.”