Parramatta have been fined more than half a million dollars for salary cap breaches in 2014.
The NRL on Thursday issued a breach notice to the club which also imposes a penalty of four competition points next season if it fails to undertake an independent review of its governance and organisational capability and implement the changes recommended.
NRL CEO Dave Smith said the breaches were “significant” and were the product of inadequate oversight and governance at the club, largely by previous administrations.
He said that in 2014 the club overspent in each of the four salary cap categories.
The amount of each breach is:
NRL Top 25 – $101,718
NRL 2nd tier – $233,036
NYC Top 20 – $60,915
NYC 2nd tier – $8277
In addition, benefits provided to Eels players by the Parramatta Leagues Club in 2013 were also identified and represent a breach of the salary cap.
Smith said Parramatta had been given multiple warnings that it was in danger of breaching the caps but did not take sufficient steps to address the non-compliance.
He said that the NRL generally imposed a fine commensurate with the level of the breach.
But the club would be fined an additional penalty, taking the total to $525,000, for failing to take action to rectify its salary cap problems despite being warned to do so.
Smith said the club’s governance had failed but he acknowledged that steps were now being taken to improve the systems.
He said the club would have until February 29 next year to undergo an independent governance review and implement the changes recommended by that review.
This will include a review of the clubs organisational capability.
If the club fails to satisfy these conditions it will start the 2016 premiership on minus four competition points.
“The salary cap is one of the reasons we have the closest sporting competition in Australia.” Smith said.
“We have to continue to take a hard line against breaches, particularly where a club’s governance and compliance systems are demonstrated to be inadequate.
“This action is aimed at improving the underlying problems at the club which have caused this breach.”
Smith said Parramatta would have an opportunity to respond to the breach notice before a final determination was made.
The Sydney Roosters also face a fine of $41,292 for a breach of the salary cap rules.
The breach relates to inaccurate reporting of education allowances in the club’s NYC Top 20.