The NRL’s sword has finally fallen, stripping the Parramatta Eels of 12 competition points and imposing a thumping $1 million fine.
Todd Greenberg, the league’s CEO, confirmed the penalties recommended in May, but suspended to give the club time to respond and show it would mend its ways after breaching the salary cap over three years.
The Eels were stripped of the 2016 Auckland Nines title they won in February, and five top club officials who unsuccessfully contested the penalties in court, were officially deregistered by the NRL.
Addressing the media yesterday, Mr Greenberg said there had been nothing in the Eels’ response to the NRL breach findings to warrant any moderation of the penalties originally announced.
“No one has taken responsibility for the deliberate and systematic breaches of the salary cap,” he said.
“As a result, it gives me no pleasure to confirm that the club will be docked 12 competition points from today and its points differential form the first nine rounds will also be revoked.
“The $1 million fine will stand with no suspended amount. The club has shown no willingness to work with us and the full amount of the fine will apply.”
“They (Parramatta) can continue fighting with the game to the detriment of their coach, their players and their fans. Or, they can take the lessons learnt from this investigation and turn the Parramatta Eels into the powerhouse club that they should be.”
The loss of points means Parramatta will drop from fourth place 12th, above the Rabbitohs, Sea Eagles, Roosters and Knights. Despite being littered with controversy, their 2016 season has been their best since 2005 so far, having won ten out of sixteen matches.
All points scored by Parramatta in their victories have been deducted from their overall points difference.
The regular cut-off for a finals spot in recent seasons has been 28 points which means the Eels who currently sit on 12 points, will be required to win every one of their remaining eight matches to rack up that points total. – Patrick Staveley
Image of the Eels team members bonding on-field from the club’s Facebook page.