Court upholds Eels officials NRL bans

By James MacSmith

SYDNEY, June 7 AAP – The NRL suspensions of five Parramatta officials over the club’s alleged salary cap indiscretions have been upheld by the NSW Supreme Court.

In a judgment handed down by Justice James Stevenson on Tuesday, the court ruled the NRL was within its rights to suspend Eels chairman Steve Sharp, CEO John Boulous, directors Tom Issa and Peter Serrao and football manager Daniel Anderson last month.

Justice Stevenson rejected the officials’ argument they had not been afforded procedural fairness.

They had argued they should have been afforded an opportunity to be heard prior to their interim suspension.

“Today the Supreme Court dismissed proceedings brought by the five officials of the Parramatta NRL club to challenge the validity of their interim suspension by the NRL as `club officials’ under the NRL rules,” Justice Stevenson wrote.

The five officials’ replies to their individual show cause notices over the alleged salary cap breaches are due to be handed in to the NRL on Wednesday.

The Parramatta club has until Friday to respond to its show cause notice in regard to the alleged widespread salary cap irregularities.

The NRL is then expected to hand down its final decisions on the cases later this month.

Provision sanctions against the club include the loss of 12 NRL premiership points, a $1 million fine and the loss of their NRL Nines title.

The NRL said it would seek costs from the Eels officials in regard to their court action, which is expected to be in excess of $100,000.

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