The Australian NRL Champions, Melbourne Storm, have today been stripped of their 2007 and 2009 titles, fined $1.6million AUD and told that they cannot accrue a single point in the 2010 season, after being found guilty of breaching the league’s salary cap rules.
David Gallop, the NRL chief executive told how the Melbourne Storm breach amounted to more than $1.6million AUD over the past five years, by manipulating a dual contract system, with details of extra payments stored in a “secret file”.
“The club has been fined 500,000 dollars and will be forced to return the 1.1 million dollars in prize money with the prize money being distributed evenly among the other 15 (NRL) clubs,” David Gallop, NRL Chief Executive
The Storm made the Grand Finals in 2007 and 2009 against Manly and Parramatta respectively, but neither side will be awarded the championship, instead there is to be a blank in the record books.
News Limited, the owners of Melbourne Storm, claim that they had no knowledge of the breaches, which chairman John Hartigan put down to the club having “a couple of rats in its ranks.” News Limited, it is believed, informed the police when it became aware of the breaches.
There has been no announcement regarding the players who accepted additional payments to play NRL rugby for the Storm.