Salford owner Marwan Koukash has launched a stinging attack on the English Rugby Football League, claiming the Red Devils have been unfairly treated during his three years in charge of the club.
The millionaire racehorse owner issued a strong response to the RFL’s decision to charge the Super League team with breaching the salary cap during a 40-minute press conference at the AJ Bell Stadium.
Koukash protested his innocence and said he was prepared to take the matter to the highest court in the land to prove it.
Salford could be docked as many as 20 points if they are found to have exceeded the STG1.8 million ($A3.4 million) wage ceiling in 2014 and 2015.
The charges were issued last Friday, six weeks after Bradford chairman Marc Green questioned the Red Devils’ use of the cap over the last two years and in particular their signing of Tony Puletua from St Helens in 2014.
Koukash says Green’s intervention put pressure on the RFL who he claims have failed to provide evidence of any wrong-doing.
“We’re going to fight this and win it together – I don’t want anyone to doubt that,” he said.
“I have nothing to worry about. If necessary I will go to the highest court in the land, I have the means to do so in order to protect the interests of my club, its fans and our players.”
Koukash, who rescued Salford from financial ruin in 2013, believes the RFL has an agenda against him, pointing to their heavy fine and points deduction for briefly having an extra player on the pitch in a match against Castleford in 2013, contrasting it with a nominal fine handed to St Helens for a similar offence in 2006.
“I know for sure they’re trying to make an example of us,” he said.
“I feel we’re being treated unfairly and have been for the last three years …probably because I have the balls to say something to the RFL.
“I’m not a follower and I will speak my mind. If it gets me into trouble, so what? If they start deducting points from us, I’ll press the red button and go for all-out war.”
Koukash insisted his actions in gifting 2015 player of the year Niall Evalds with a Maserati car were carried out within the regulations and said the club are operating well below the salary cap this year.
“If we’ve made a mistake we will pay for it but all I’m asking from the RFL going forward is to have a fair process in dealing with this, to stop trying to make an example out of us,” he added.
“I want this to be dealt with quickly and fairly and I’m also asking the tribunal to allow members of the public in and possibly journalists too.”