The NRL said today the $50,000 fine imposed on Cronulla Sharks captain Paul Gallen for comments he made on social media will stand – but $15,000 of it will be suspended.

The penalty was revised after mitigating information was put forward by Gallen in his response to the breach notice.

The NRL will respect Gallen’s request that the nature of the information he provided remain private and confidential.

CEO Dave Smith said the language used in a public forum, by one of the most senior leaders in the game, was a serious breach of the Code of Conduct.

He said he was concerned about the impact the social media post could have on the game’s brand and especially the example it set to children and fans.

“The original penalty was appropriate based on the seriousness of the incident and the information before us at the time,” Mr Smith said.

“But, based on the additional information provided to us by Paul in a submission and at a meeting with the NRL, we have decided to suspend part of the fine.”

Mr Smith said the NRL had strictly followed the process set out under the game’s rules by:

• issuing a preliminary breach notice

• reviewing the response to that breach notice put forward by Gallen and

• determining a final penalty of $50,000 with $15,000 suspended.

The fine will be paid to the NRL and then donated to an appropriate charity.

Mr Smith said the “suspended” $15,000 will be imposed if there are any further breaches of the Code of Conduct by Gallen over the next 12 months.

He said Gallen will be eligible for selection for the Kangaroos next year once he completes a leader’s accountability course.

“This remains one of the biggest financial penalties imposed on an individual player because it involved one of the most senior and influential people in our game,” Mr Smith said.

“We recognise that Paul has been through a lot over the last two years but that does not excuse such a serious breach of the code.

“We must protect our brand and ensure we set a good example to children and other fans.

“So we will continue to be vigilant against any behaviour which brings the game into disrepute.

“But we are also sensitive to player welfare issues and that is why we have modified the penalty in this case.”