The National Rugby League has today released the final report into the Melbourne Storm Salary Cap investigation of 2010.
The report is a forensic detailing of the mechanisms used in the biggest salary cap breach in the game’s history, one which led to the Storm being stripped of two NRL competition titles, prizemoney and fined $500,000.
It is a necessary step in providing closure for those at the club and in ensuring that all lessons can be examined. For this reason, as much of the report as can be released without compromising the privacy or rights of individuals has been made available today.
There are no new findings against the club or any of the players involved and no further actions planned against any individuals now at the Storm other than the removal of the club’s World Club Challenge title of 2010.
Findings against player managers have already been referred to the player accreditation committee and there are a number of persons formally associated with the Storm (none of them players) against whom the report recommends further action.
“There is an important process to understand in this,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.
“After a year-long investigation into the Storm, supported by clear admissions from the Club Chairman and Chief Executive, the NRL had sufficient information on which to base a penalty in April 2010 – indeed given what we knew at that time there was no other option.
“We also flagged the need for further investigation to determine all that had gone on.
“The club’s owners, News Limited, conducted a complete review of its Melbourne Storm business operations using Deloitte’s and we assisted in providing information for that report.
“It was for that reason we were confident that the ‘numbers’ published from the Deloitte report were likely to be accurate, as they have largely shown to be.
“Contrary to misreporting at the time, the NRL had always committed to its own final review of the processes undertaken at the Storm.
“Given the complexity of the deceit on the part of persons at the Storm at the time of the breaches, this has involved a difficult and by nature legalistic process. Today represents the first opportunity to release the findings which have been through a number of legal reviews before release.
“The report remains a significant watershed for the game and an important warning for anyone who would even think of breaching the salary cap.
“Over 136 pages it details a sophisticated level of dishonesty on the part of a number of people who were the ones ultimately responsible for plunging the club and the game into disruption.
“The fans, the players and those persons at the Storm who were not involved were in fact let down horribly and there can be no doubt from this report that the acts were intentional and pre-meditated.
“What is laid bare beyond doubt is the hypocrisy of those who attacked the NRL over the punishment while having themselves been a part of the very governance structure that so failed the club and the game.
“Fraud by nature can be hard to detect and there were many lies told to ensure the systematic cheating would be difficult to uncover in this circumstance.
“The sworn falsehoods that were submitted as statutory declarations should have been enough to shame any responsible director into silence once the truth was uncovered.
“The fact that former directors elected to attack the NRL and its Salary Cap Auditor rather than honour their initial apology is a further indictment on their position as directors.
“For the players and those at the Storm today, this report should bring closure.
“The current administration has gone to extensive lengths to distance itself from the past and deserves acknowledgment for the manner in which it has moved forward.
“This report is a reminder to everyone at any club that even the most elaborate of schemes will unravel in the end.
“It is also a credit to the work of the Salary Cap Auditor, Ian Schubert, and his team.”
Download the full report here