The central figures in Parramatta’s systemic cheating of the salary cap have hurt rugby league’s reputation, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg says.
Five Parramatta officials have been banned from the game in the wake of the Eels rorting the NRL salary cap.
They include chairman Steve Sharp, a premiership-winning player for the club during a 167-game career for the Eels.
As well as deregistering the five officials, Parramatta will lose 12 competition points and have been fined $1 million for salary cap breaches dating back to the 2013 NRL season.
“These five officials have damaged the game,” Greenberg said during a media conference to confirm the NRL’s penalties would stand.
“They have damaged the club and they’ve let their fans down.
“Let me say this is not an easy call to make, especially for someone like Steve Sharp.”
Greenberg said the NRL would now take a closer interest in the operations of the Parramatta club.
“The NRL has deliberately decided not to intervene in the affairs of the club while this investigation has been under way but that changes now,” he said.
“We want to see a strong board and we will do all we can to facilitate that.
“We will be calling on the board, and working with the members, to install a management team which sets the club on the right path for the future.”
Deputy chairman Tom Issa, club director Peter Serrao, chief executive John Boulous and football manager Daniel Anderson have also had their registrations cancelled.
“The overall impression that I got from the responses is that no one at the club has taken responsibility for the deliberate, systemic and blatant breaches of the salary cap,” Greenberg said.
“… we have to take a strong stand to preserve the integrity of the salary cap and the competition.”
Parramatta moved into the NRL top four on Friday night with a come-from-behind win over the Sydney Roosters.
But Saturday’s decision leaves the Eels in 12th place on the premiership table with 12 competition points and they are now all but out of contention for this year’s finals series.