Well done to the NRL here for having something most sporting bodies are too afraid/too feeble to have - BALLS. Too many sporting authorities allow cheats, or clubs which are financially mismanaged to the level of incompetence or blatant cheating, to continue with barely a slap on the wrist - hardly a deterrent for any other. FIFA and the Premier League - take note.
The Melbourne Storm, the most successful NRL team of recent years have been stripped of two premierships, several minor premierships, all points for season 2010 (gained and yet to be played for) and fined heavily for systematic breaches of the NRL salary cap over several seasons. The club was caught running a second set of books - one with the 'official' contracts listed, and one with the real values. It's not the first time it has happened in the NRL, although this is the biggest breach.
Melbourne Storm stripped of two premierships for salary cap breach
Melbourne Storm have been stripped of two NRL premierships and fined a total of $1.6 million after being found guilty of long-term salary cap breaches.
Storm go from heroes to zeroes
* Ron Reed
ANALYSIS: AUSTRALIAN sport has never witnessed such a savage response to an episode of cheating - and with any luck may never have to again.
For those unfamiliar with league in Australia, Melbourne were a club established in the 90s as the league tried to expand into non-league states. The pressure was on for them to be a success immediately. Players often didn't settle in Melbourne, despite it being the sporting capital of the world, because at best, and until today, rugby league would rarely get any coverage in the first 8 pages at the back of the local papers - it is AFL and AFL only in Victoria. Salary caps make it hard for any club, especially in the NRL as players are susceptible to bigger offers in the UK or from rugby union. But rules are rules, and there is no room for a rogue club in a league.
Rugby league has always had a rebellious culture, which is still seen with players thinking they are above the law and can be bulletproof in the public, like it was the 70s. Those days are long gone in modern society, yet still players are caught for anything from drink driving to assault in public venues to sexual assaults and drug trafficking. Common problems of that age group of society perhaps, but professional athletes have a responsibility when they have kids going to school wearing their jersey and their number/name on the back. Part of being paid a packet is for the sacrifice they have to make - cutting out the dickhead actions so people look up to them. If you want to be anonymous and get pissed in the pub on a Friday night like the regular workforce, then take up a desk job.
It's not just the players who think they can cheat the system though, obviously many of the administrators, many of whom are former players, still have their heads in the clouds as well. Player education and welfare has improved markedly in the past couple of years, usually as a result of watershed moments where someone declares 'enough is enough'. Maybe this is finally the time in the NRL when the penny drops for administrators.....
One question has to be asked - the man in the middle of this has to be former CEO Brian Waldron, who jumped ship to take over the Melbourne Rebels (rather fitting name), the newest club in the Super 15 rugby union competition, starting next year. What action will be taken against him?
Here's a detailed history of salary cap breaches in the NRL and quotes from today's events. (LINK FIXED)