The NRL Appeals Committee has released its decision on the Appeal brought by the Manly Club in respect of the NRL’s determination that it breached the salary cap rules during the period 2013 to 2017.
The Committee, chaired by the Honourable Ian Callinan AO QC, with panellists Michael Cleary AO and Noel Kelly, found that the 'the evidence before the CEO overwhelmingly supports a determination that the Club contravened Rule 26 of the PCR Rules by recklessly or negligently engaging in conduct calculated to avoid, or which might otherwise have the effect of avoiding the obligations of the Club to comply with the Rules relating to the administration, enforcement and observance of the Salary Cap.'
The Committee determined that the CEO was entitled on the evidence before him to conclude that:
- the Club had engaged in the practice of making offers to players to enter into playing contracts on the basis of commitments to procure or facilitate Third Party Agreements, where such commitments were not disclosed in the playing contracts;
- when the Club procured or facilitated the promised Third Party Agreements the Club misrepresented to the Salary Cap Auditor that they had been entered into at arm's length from the Club, and;
- the Club had engaged in this conduct for the purpose of obtaining an unfair advantage for the Club in the NRL Competition.
The decision confirmed the findings of the Breach Determination against the Club in respect of 11 of 12 relevant Player transactions. In respect of a TPA for a Player in the amount of $25,000 for two years, it determined that there was not sufficient evidence to support the original finding.
The NRL has imposed a fine of $750,000 on the club for these salary cap breaches. It also suspended two officials and applied a $660,000 penalty to its salary cap.
The NRL and the Club have been invited to make submissions to the Committee about what, if any, impact this finding should have on the penalty imposed on the Club.