Sharks provide NRL 'survival plan'

The Cronulla Sharks have provided the NRL with a detailed plan to secure the club’s short and long term future.<br><br>The National Rugby League has held a three hour meeting with the Cronulla Sharks Board to discuss numerous issues affecting the club.<br><br>At the outset NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, made it clear that the purpose of the meeting was not for the NRL to involve itself in the running of the club:<br><br>“It’s important that people realise clubs must control their own destinies.<br><br>“It is not our role to run them. That is for the boards of directors and the members who elect the Boards.<br><br>“To this Board’s credit they have thrown themselves to the verdict of the members and I would encourage all members to vote at the elections in July.”<br><br>Among the issues discussed was Cronulla’s report in relation to recent media allegations questioning the club’s future.<br><br>The first of these centred on an injury suffered by a former female employee and the subsequent circumstances of her subsequent departure four months later.<br><br>In investigating this, the club and the NRL sought the opportunity to interview the employee without the constraint of any termination agreement. <br><br>The woman, through her legal representatives, declined to give the NRL that opportunity despite the club’s willingness to do so. The club remains bound by that agreement.<br><br>There has been no evidence put forward by any party that the injury was sustained through anything but an accident. The NRL still encourages the woman to provide any other information but unless compelling evidence can be provided to the contrary the matter cannot be further advanced.<br><br>The employment issues that followed are not the domain of the NRL but again no evidence has been provided that would suggest wrongdoing on the part of the club.<br><br>Allegations of a ‘sponsor’ providing sex toys and taking sex workers into the club dressing room have been denied by the club.<br><br>The club’s statements have been supported through NRL investigations and it is significant that the so called sponsor has provided papers denying the accusations and has shown evidence of his intention to commence legal proceedings.<br><br>There is no evidence to support the claim that the women were sex workers and one of the women has expressed her anger at the suggestion. Accordingly there is no evidence to support the women being introduced in a derogatory manner to the players.<br><br>The meeting also demonstrated the extent to which the club has developed education programmes at every level including Under 16’s to promote positive attitudes to women and to assist players in developing off-field careers.<br><br>“There’s no doubt that the club has come a long way from Christchurch in 2002 and that it is an active participant in the welfare objectives promoted by the NRL and the RLPA,” Mr Gallop said.<br><br>“It is understandable that it has found itself under the microscope following this year’s Four Corners programme but some of the more recent allegations are not supported by the evidence we have been able to gather.<br><br>“The question for everyone now is where does the club go from here?<br><br>“We have certainly spent time tonight going through the club’s short and long term plans and have received positive indications from the club about the banks current support for the club.<br><br>“There are some major strategies going forward if the land development becomes a reality and they remain very confident about that happening.<br><br>“The club is unique in terms of its strong asset base and this underpins their plan.<br><br>“Certainly there is a need for the opportunities to be better communicated to fans of the Sharks and the game.<br><br>“They are not looking at relocation they are very focused on long term success and it’s important they carry their fans with them to that point.”&nbsp; <br>