NRL integrity unit boss Nick Weeks says Parramatta’s salary cap crisis is proof that clubs who attempt to work outside rugby league’s salary cap will be caught, sooner or later.
After Canterbury, Melbourne and the Warriors before them, the Eels are the latest club to be disgraced after being caught cheating the NRL’s competition equalising mechanism.
The Eels have been stripped of all 12 competition points they have accrued thus far in 2016 and fined $1 million.
Weeks said the Eels had exceeded the cap by $570,000 already this year and have blown it out by $3 million since 2013.
The NRL’s investigations into the Eels and the subsequent sanctions were a warning to all clubs thinking of circumventing the rules, Weeks said.
“The thing with the salary cap is that where there is a system like we believe to have occurred here (at Parramatta) on a large scale the prospect of it coming out is pretty high,” Weeks said.
“I think most clubs understand that
“This might be a message to other clubs that they need to be compliant and careful in their salary cap practices.
“The system is reasonably effective. We have a salary cap auditor, he has a team, and when we are put on notice there might be a breach of the rules we will go and investigate and that is what we have done here.”
Despite the extent of the NRL’s sanctions, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg admitted the saga was bad for the image of rugby league.
“It is not good for us, we have had nine good rounds and memberships and (TV) ratings are at an all time high. Rugby league is absolutely in tremendous shape.
“I didn’t want this day to come, but our duty is represent the best interests of the game.”