Additional provisions for NRL Integrity Unit
The NRL Integrity Unit has learned lessons out of the South Sydney Arizona incident and will be putting additional provisions in place as a result, according to NRL Chief Operating Officer Suzanne Young.
The NRL announced on Monday the South Sydney Rabbitohs will be fined $20,000 following an additional investigation into an incident in Arizona, in which then-captain John Sutton and Luke Burgess – now with Manly – were detained by police at an Arizona nightspot before being released without charge.
Speaking from NRL HQ on Monday afternoon, Young said extra provisions around Integrity Unit processes will be put in place early next week at the latest following revelations there was a payment on behalf of Burgess to the security guard involved which led to the dropping of the charges.
"It would be fair to say that the Integrity Unit has learnt lessons out of this incident as well and will be improving its processes. [In saying that] I have full confidence in the unit and will continue to support them in their investigations," Young said.
"We will be working with the clubs over the coming week to see how we can improve the rules and guidelines for the clubs. When we share the updated rules and guidelines we can address which specifics are required to address and close any gaps."
Young added the Integrity Unit had not lost faith in the clubs to be transparent in future cases.
The range of future Integrity Unit investigations, and how far the Unit goes to determine truths in investigations, will be dependent on a case by case basis and the results of the provisions set to be put in place.
"I think the NRL Integrity Unit has to rely on the clubs to provide information in regards to any investigation," Young said.
"Clearly it is something that you don't wish to happen so we just need to make sure that we are made aware of [everything related to future matters] in the future."
While the Rabbitohs were fined for not following the matter to its conclusion, Sutton and Burgess escaped further disciplinary action. Young said the punishments handed down by the club at the time were deemed sufficient.
Young added there was no evidence uncovered by the investigation to suggest Rabbitohs officials, including then-CEO Shane Richardson, knew of the payment.