Former Melbourne CEO Ron Gauci has hit out at the NRL over perceived inconsistencies surrounding Parramatta’s salary cap breaches.
Gauci, brought in by the Storm in the wake of their salary cap scandal in 2010, was left questioning the fact Parramatta will be able to renegotiate their cap space to ensure they stay alive in the competition, a luxury the Storm were never offered.
Under Gauci’s watch, Melbourne were forced to shed 15 players ahead of the 2011 season including Greg Inglis, Ryan Hoffman and Aiden Tolman after breaking the salary cap by $1.7 million between 2006 and 2010.
Their situation was also at direct odds with Canterbury’s in 2002, who managed to keep the core of their squad together to win the 2004 premiership after breaking the cap by $2 million over three years.
Both breaches pale in comparison to the alleged nature of Parramatta’s though, which is at around $3 million since the start of the 2013 season.
And while Gauci indicated he believed offering a glimmer of hope to offending clubs was the right move going forward, he questioned their fairness of the three major sanctions.
“The penalties themselves relative to the size and nature of the breaches are at best inequitable, inconsistent and unpredictable,” Gauci told SEN Breakfast.
“We weren’t able to play for points in 2010, we weren’t able to renegotiate players’ contracts, we had to release almost half of the roster.
“We went through half 2010 without playing for points and we lost the prize money relating to that.
“(Parramatta) are obviously allowed to renegotiate the situation to enable them to play for the rest of the year and … they get to still contest the finals.”
Gauci also called for the NRL to implement a streamlined system which outlined what penalties would be enforced for different salary cap breaches.
“The foundation of any good system, and I see this in our legal system, is the importance of having predictability and accountability,” he said.
“Clubs need to know what the process is going to be and what the penalties are going to be.”