Sharks under investigation for salary cap breaches

ivanhungryjak

NRL Captain
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Cronulla Sharks being investigated over possible salary cap breaches

THE Cronulla Sharks’ premiership campaign has been rocked by revelations the NRL’s integrity unit is investigating the club for potential salary cap breaches on the eve of the finals series.
Integrity unit forensic investigators arrived at Sharks Leagues club three months ago after the club’s new chief executive Barry Russell conducted an internal review and found suspicious payments dating back to 2015. He reported it to the NRL.
The Daily Telegraph understands the amount involved is around the $250,000 mark but could go higher once thousands of documents have been examined.
Although one Sharks official admitted: “Now they’ve taken our server, we don’t know what they’ll find.”
BUZZ COMMENT: The hardest story I had to write

The Sharks are embroiled in a salacy cap crisis on the eve of the finals.
The NRL is confident the club is salary cap compliant this year and can play in the finals.
Investigators have scanned computer hard drives and seized five years of emails from the club’s internet server plus mobile phone records of officials and staff.
This is same procedure the integrity unit used when investigating the Parramatta Eels and Manly Sea Eagles in the more recent salary cap scandals.
“We conducted a full governance review when I first started in March,” Russell said.
“We discovered some historical cap issues in relation to third party payments.
“We self-declared to the NRL and have since been working with the integrity unit in an on-going investigation. We cannot tolerate anything that’s done against NRL guidelines.
“Importantly for the 2018 season we are cap compliant.”

New Cronulla Sharks chief executive found suspicious payments during an internal review.
The original tip-off may have involved an undisclosed third party payment to a player as far back as 2015. That player is still at the club.
A spokesman for the NRL confirmed that the Sharks had asked the Integrity Unit to make inquiries into salary cap matters at the club.
“Those inquiries are on-going so we are not in a position to comment further at this stage,” the spokesman said.
“However, based on the information available, the Sharks and all other clubs are salary cap compliant for 2018.”

Cronulla Sharks chairman Dino Mezzatesta is aware of the possible salary cap breaches. Picture: Brett Costello
Only Russell and the club’s chairman Dino Mezzatesta have been aware of the payment issues.
According to NRL sources a payment outside the salary cap has been confirmed from 2015 but is not significant enough to strip the Sharks of the 2016 premiership, their first in 50 years.
It’s when the integrity unit decided to move in and check more recent financial records.
After winning the premiership in 2016, the Sharks faced a struggle to keep the team together.
Players’ values soared on the back of winning the title.
Despite the retirement of grand final hero Michael Ennis and the departure of Ben Barba after his cocaine scandal, the Sharks still needed to upgrade many of the players’ salaries to keep them in the Shire.

This is the worst news for Sharks fans on the eve of the finals. (AAP Image/Craig Golding)
This is when it is alleged some were paid undeclared third party payments.
At a recent Sharks board meeting, directors called on the football club’s senior management to provide more transparency in the salary cap and player payments.
They had been kept in the dark over the recent signings of Bulldogs stars Aaron Woods and Josh Morris.
In March the Manly Sea Eagles were fined $750,000 and had $700,000 removed from their salary cap for two seasons after being found to have breached the cap. They are now waiting on an appeal verdict.
Manly’s breaches involved as many as 15 players over five years, totalling $1.5 million.
The Parramatta Eels were stripped on 12 competition points and fined $1 million by the NRL after the Daily Telegraph exposed years of player payment cheating and illegal third-party contracts.
 

Alec

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It's all a plot to distract from the Roosters! They cheat more than anyone else.
 

Morkel

International Captain
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What does the "significance" of the breach matter? If the payment in question was used to retain a player, who also played in the 2016 season under the same contract, why would the amount matter? $250k, or $500, they cheated the cap to retain a player for what would ultimately be a premiership-winning season, strip it.

They haven't mentioned a player / players. I wonder if it has anything to do with the discreet Gallen incident, AKA the actual dude who paid Gallen illegally coming out with it publicly?
 

Huge

State of Origin Rep
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Ipswich
What does the "significance" of the breach matter? If the payment in question was used to retain a player, who also played in the 2016 season under the same contract, why would the amount matter? $250k, or $500, they cheated the cap to retain a player for what would ultimately be a premiership-winning season, strip it.

They haven't mentioned a player / players. I wonder if it has anything to do with the discreet Gallen incident, AKA the actual dude who paid Gallen illegally coming out with it publicly?
If it has nothing to do with the 2016 season, no foul.
 

Foordy

International Rep
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If it has nothing to do with the 2016 season, no foul.
yes and we should all buy this BS that 2016 was the only season in the last 3 that they were clean.

I'm not naive enough to buy that (as has been reported) "there were irregularities in 2015 and irregularities 2017" ... but right in the middle of all of those irregularities, when the won the title, they were clean and cap compliant...
 

Huge

State of Origin Rep
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Ipswich
yes and we should all buy this BS that 2016 was the only season in the last 3 that they were clean.

I'm not naive enough to buy that (as has been reported) "there were irregularities in 2015 and irregularities 2017" ... but right in the middle of all of those irregularities, when the won the title, they were clean and cap compliant...
Fair enough, I didn't realize that there was some irregularity in the 2017 season. I didn't see that reported. Is there a link?
 

Huge

State of Origin Rep
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Ipswich
yes and we should all buy this BS that 2016 was the only season in the last 3 that they were clean.

I'm not naive enough to buy that (as has been reported) "there were irregularities in 2015 and irregularities 2017" ... but right in the middle of all of those irregularities, when the won the title, they were clean and cap compliant...
I just found an article saying 2017 may have a breach in it too. Naturally that's not proven yet and all we can really do is wait until the NRL finish their investigation and make our informed observations then. Until then we can only speculate but given the CEO was upfront and called in the NRL and they've been busy investigating for three months it just goes to show that some parts of the NRL are working well. I mean, how did they keep this secret up until now? You'd think the dribbler, Slothfield would have known about it but it wasn't reported until now.
 

Ironbroncos

QCup Player
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NZ
Caught a bit of NRL 360 last night with Luke Lewis & Josh Reynolds.

IMO Lewis started off alright when they asked him about the scandal, but then once Kent (& to some extent Ikin) started sinking his teeth in with some roundabout questions, Lewis got all defensive with his 'don't know how the cap works, I leave it to my manager, I don't know where the moneys coming from'.

Pretty sad to see the convo kinda turn like that (well that's how I felt about it) since both players are on the show every week, and Lewis is retiring, so i don't think he would've really cared because hes out the door anytime in the next few weeks.

It was just weird how they're all goody to each other every other week and then this pops up and then boom, Lewis had a target on his head because he plays @ the Sharks.
 

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