Bellamy, players unaware of Storm cap rorts

All four Melbourne Storm independent directors have been axed as the club's owners News Ltd revealed the extent of salary cap breaches by the club between 2006 and 2010.<br><br>In a media announcement today, News Ltd chief executive John Hartigan confirmed the club had committed $3.17 million worth of breaches, and named 13 players who received illegal payments.<br><br>The players were Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Greg Inglis, Cooper Cronk, Ryan Hoffman, Anthony Quinn and Brett White and former players Dallas Johnson, Will Chambers, Mick Crocker, Matt Geyer, Steve Turner and Antonio Kaufusi.<br><br>Hartigan did, however, stress that there was no evidence the players or their managers knew their payments would send the Storm over the salary cap.<br><br>"No evidence was found that these players or their managers and agents knew that these third party payments and benefits could contribute to a breach of the salary cap," he said.<br><br>"Regrettably not one of the players agreed to cooperate with the investigation ... in my view it's totally unacceptable.<br><br>"I'm pleased to confirm that [coach] Craig Bellamy did cooperate with News Ltd's investigators."<br><br>The full extent of the salary cap breaches were more than 80% higher than initially feared.<br><br>Hartigan said the punishment handed out to the club by the NRL, including the docking of two premierships and all competition points from this season, were warranted.<br><br>"The club engaged in wide-ranging and elaborate cheating, and must take its medicine," he said.<br><br>"Is it fraud? That's something for the police to investigate, and we're referring our findings to them."<br><br>Hartigan said all four of the club's independent directors had now been removed from their position.<br><br>"News believes the independent directors have not shown the willingness to address the most pressing issues facing the club.<br><br>"In these circumstances, News believes that completely new leadership is required and that the change needs to start right at the top.<br><br>"As of this morning, the independent directors have been removed from their positions at the club."<br>