THE MOMENTS THAT CRUSHED PARRAMATTA’S 2016 NRL SEASON
May 21, 2015 – Parramatta are fined $525,000 and issued with a suspended four-point penalty for breaching both tiers in the NRL and NYC salary caps. Eels administrators are told to undergo a governance review if they wish to start the 2016 season on level pegging.
March 2, 2016 – The NRL confirm that Parramatta have avoided the four-point penalty after making the core governance changes recommended by an independent review.
March 9 – Leaked Parramatta board minutes from 2014 emerge, showing that the club reward third-party player sponsors with corporates boxes, according to News Corp Australia.
March 10 – More leaked documents show the Eels reduced club sponsorship values so a subsidiary company could make $27,500 of payments to former player Ben Smith. Allegations were also made that both Semi Radradra and former player Richie Fa’aoso had an apartment provided to them by a real estate agent.
March 11 – The NRL confirms they will reopen their investigation into Parramatta’s salary cap.
March 15 – Further reports emerge suggesting Parramatta went in search of almost $600,000 and two cars as part of third-party agreements for their players in January 2014.
March 17 – Todd Greenberg is announced as the NRL’s new chief executive, and promises a thorough investigation into the club and third-party deals in the game.
April 5 – Parramatta agree to former chief executive Scott Seward being interviewed by the NRL’s investigators.
April 6 – News Corp Australia reports that the Eels owed more than $140,000 to players in 2013, which in some cases were made up by unregistered third-party payments. Parramatta hit back, questioning the relevance of the findings.
April 7 – Reports suggest the Eels made an advance payment of $35,000 to Semi Radradra and guaranteed former captain Tim Mannah $225,000 of third-party payments in 2014. The Eels respond saying they had NRL clearance to make the Radradra payments, but make no comment regarding Mannah.
April 11 – Fairfax reports that English import Lee Mossop received unregistered extra payments into an overseas bank account as part of a release fee during the 2015 pre-season.
April 27 – Reports emerge that the Eels attempted to set up $75,000 worth of third-party deals with Parramatta council to have three players as ambassadors. The club denies any wrongdoing.
May 1 – Parramatta chairman Steve Sharp hints he will consider legal action against the NRL in response to any potential penalty in a letter to the club’s members.
May 3 – The NRL announce Parramatta will lose all 12 competition points they have accrued, their 2016 Auckland Nines title and issues them with a $1 million fine for breaches totalling more than $500,000.
* There is no suggestion of any wrongdoing by the players or their third-party sponsors in any of the stories.