The Manly Sea Eagles could be hit with a “significant fine” after an extensive and explosive investigation into the club’s “salary cap issues”.
The probe, which looked into alleged breaches of the salary cap over a five-year period, has seen the NRL issue Manly with a breach notice following “preliminary findings of potential breaches of the salary cap”.
“Should these preliminary findings be confirmed, proposed sanctions could include a significant fine on the club,” an NRL statement said.
“The club could also be required to adjust its salary cap for 2018 to recognise commitments made to players that are found to be in breach of the cap.
“In addition to the matters relevant to the club, show cause notices have also been issued to two current club officials, requiring them to demonstrate why their registrations should not be cancelled.
“NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the Manly club and both officials have already been provided with opportunities to assist the NRL during this investigation.”
All officials involved now have five days to respond to the NRL’s breach notices.
In October, the NRL began interviews with Manly officials regarding the investigation.
Information that Manly players may have been given cash payments – which breach the salary cap’s rules and regulations – was uncovered during an investigation into match-fixing allegations, dubbed Strike Force Nuralda, Fairfax Media reported.
Back in July, when reports of historical salary cap breaches were first suggested, Manly released a statement which said they were the NRL’s “benchmark” for salary cap issues.
“The club doesn’t answer or respond to unsubstantiated rumours but is fiercely protective of its reputation in the sporting and business world,” they said.
“There are in fact no allegations that the club has been the subject of in relation to any components of the NRL salary cap or lower tier cap compliance.
“Quite the contrary, we recently had out 2017 mid-year salary cap audit completed by the NRL in record time and without adjustment.”
What does this mean?
In addition to a possible fine, the Sea Eagles may have to shuffle their pack for the 2018 season, with the NRL website posting an article that said squad changes may be on the horizon.
“The Manly Warringah Sea Eagles face the prospect of having to shed players for 2018 after today being issued by a breach notice from the NRL following an investigation into the club’s salary cup,” it read.
“The NRL said possible sanctions could include “a significant fine” while they may also have to make adjustments to their 2018 cap due to payments to current players made in breach of the cap.”
The squad changes would be a blow to Manly, which is seeking to improve on a first-round exit from the 2017 finals.
More to come
– with AAP