The Parramatta Eels have today received a preliminary breach notice from the National Rugby League (NRL) regarding the Eels’ NRL and NYC salary caps. The NRL has recommended an overall fine of $525,000.
As the NRL acknowledged, the primary contributing factor was consistent mismanagement of the NRL and NYC playing squad and salary cap compliance between 2010 and mid-2013.
In 2013, the newly-elected board of the Parramatta Leagues Club initiated an extensive internal investigation, which by late 2013, had raised significant concerns regarding player contracts and squad management.
Eels senior management alerted the NRL of its concerns, and it was determined that the club would continue to advise the NRL of all subsequent issues to be considered as part of the NRL’s regular 2014 mid-season salary cap audit.
Eels CEO Scott Seward said the club had cooperated extensively with the NRL in its audit processes.
“We have been upfront with the NRL, in fact, we were the first to bring these issues to the NRL’s attention,” Seward said.
“The situation as it stands is that with the hard work of our football department and the support of the Board we are compliant with the salary cap for the 2015 season, and in good shape for the seasons to come.”
“For us, that’s paramount. We are determined to continue strengthening the Eels line up to maximise our opportunities to succeed.”
Eels Chairman Steve Sharp described today’s announcement as symptomatic of wider failures in the previous administrations of the club.
“Today’s findings again highlight that dark period for our club between 2010 and 2013,” Sharp said.
“The constant changing of coaches, players and club executives, the mismanagement of core parts of our business across both the Eels and Parramatta Leagues Club, and these issues go hand in hand.”
“As part of our commitment to good governance and in order to rectify the bad practices of the past, a full review of all player contracts was done and any and all non-compliant aspects across both NRL and NYC were included in the 2014 NRL salary cap audit.”
The NRL has also recommended a conditional penalty of 4 competition points, to be deducted at the start of the 2016 season unless the Eels undertake an independent review of governance and organisational capability and implement all reasonable changes recommended by that review.
The Eels Board will review the NRL recommendations and then provide a response in relation to the preliminary breach notice and the proposed independent review.