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Sodboy13

Aussie Nat'l Rugby League gives champs "Death Penalty"

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You know, when you go over the salary cap in American sports, the league asseses you a luxury tax or some such thing, and you go about your extra-spendy business. When you do it in Australia, they go all NCAA on your ass. Oh, and the team still has to play out the rest of this season, but none of the wins will count.

My question to you Aussies: what does this mean for the Storm's future? I know they've got the sparkling new stadium and all, and fairly good support by rugby league standards, but being hit by this when you're basically the 10th team in town (behind the 9 AFL clubs) seems like it could be catastrophic.

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...investigators had discovered a dual bookkeeping system to enable salary cap cheating. Secret records hid extra player payments that were kept apart from information disclosed to NRL auditors.

Yeah, that's far worse than being assessed a luxury tax.

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My question to you Aussies: what does this mean for the Storm's future? I know they've got the sparkling new stadium and all, and fairly good support by rugby league standards, but being hit by this when you're basically the 10th team in town (behind the 9 AFL clubs) seems like it could be catastrophic.

It is. Attendance was poor to begin with, even when they were winning. New stadium or no, people in Melbourne are not going to want to come out to see, essentially, a bunch of exhibitions. I think it will be a miracle if they last past the 2012 season.

As a Souths fan, I kinda want to see the team get booted so that Rupert Murdoch can get his comeuppance for booting the Bunnies in 2000.

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Its a very bold move by the NRL but its essentially going to kill off Rugby League in Australia's second biggest market. The league has set a precedent for not tolerating salary cap breaches over the last 20 years. Hopefully, with Melbourne being a parochial bunch, the fans will stick with the team through the tough times because its going to get ugly for a while. On a side note, the salary cap breach explains a lot about their success though.

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So, I guess they need to change the '2009 Premiers' top banner on their website, huh? ^_^

I'm sure this is going to be tough for rugby league in Melbourne. The timing couldn't be worse with the Storm just about to move to their new ground. I am not sure how many fans will continue to support the club. I hope they will stick around because this was not on the players, at least not intentionally, but on the administration. I do wonder how much News Corp. was involved in this.

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I have to admit I don't know squat about the NRL aside from occasionally catching a game back when Setanta Sports would air matches, but looking at it from the angle of an ardent student of sports/law/business, I have to commend the league for this. In taking this step they have put the integrity of the league ahead of literally everything else - raising the apparently very real possibility that they'll lose a franchise in a key market, predominately as a matter of principle.

On the other hand, I have to condemn the management of this club. There's no way they thought this would stay under wraps forever, and based on what I've read about past salary cap issues brought on years ago by another NRL club, they had to have an idea that if what they were doing came to light, the penalties imposed would be nothing short of catastrophic for them.

In the United States, this type of thing would result in an immediate flurry of lawsuits - perhaps from a club's owner suing his former employees for gross misfeasance, definitely from fans who laid down their money to see a product that was tainted due to the imbalance of talent that skirting the salary cap would bring, perhaps from the television network that carried the matches, and so forth. I'm not sure that will happen here, but honestly if I were a supporter of the Storm, after this I'd be consulting an attorney to see where a class action suit could be filed.

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I'm just glad I'm not a passionate supporter of the Storm. I follow them, but nothing more than watching the odd game on TV and checking the newspapers for results. It is the fans, the members of this club that will suffer most. Them and the players. The supporters were supporting this great thing for all this time, believing it was real. It wasn't. It was corrupt. The players may not have been fully aware, but those players that played in those premierships thought what they did was such a great thing, believing it was real. It wasn't, either.

The club had made real inroads in Melbourne and then BANG..... its pretty much dead. I'm not really in the know of business structures, but I find it strange that the board of directors knew nothing until last week. Sure they aren't involved in day-to-day running of the club, but surely they would notice that they are spending money that is otherwise club profit. I find it hard to believe they thought they could get away with it and I find it hard to believe the board wasn't 100% sure of the stadium deal.

Whats unfolded is that the stadium deal included marquee use.

The club wrote up the marquee hire as $x and paid the players, keeping this in a seperate book.

There might be other things that were done.

The blame has to be with Brian Waldron, and what worries me more is his past involvement with the St Kilda Football Club. I think the AFL will have to have a look at us, but I think most things, if any, would be out now, considering we've had 2 or 3 CEO's and a change of board since he left. And besides, we have no premierships to lose anyway....

I'm not sure what will happen about the bubble stadium, but the government will be thankful that the Victory and Heart will play there in the A-League, atleast someone will sit in it.

There's going to be more to come out of this, but I believe the NRL has killed rugby league in Victoria. Actually, can't blame the NRL, they did what they had to do. The Melbourne Storm, killed themselves and the game in this state.

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Perhaps the one thing Melbourne has going for it is that is owned by News Ltd, who for now at least still have a massive financial interest in the success of the NRL and particularly its success in getting into the Victorian market. The question is, after years of crap financial performance even when they were succeeding and now a guarantee of worse in the years ahead, whether News is willing to continue to prop them up. Sponsors are bailing at top speed and their crowd figures are going to be an embarrassment for the rest of the season.

Bears Mk II would be only too happy to replace them, I'm sure!

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They got what they deserved. Maybe the penalties for 2010 were a little harsh as its ruined a season still in progress. They could have forced them under the cap for this season with players being released/contracts reduced and forfeited all points received so far as happened to the Bulldogs in 2002. Not allowing them to receive any points in 2010 runs the risk of empty stadiums for their home games and the team folding within a couple of seasons. (They do want a new franchise on the Central Coast, maybe this will make room.... oh the cynic in me ;))

The NRL gave unprecedented support to the Storm, moving State of Origin games to neutral city Melbourne, hosting internationals in Melbourne, various concessions to assist their recruitment, spending millions to try and grow the game in a new market. This led to a lot of resentment in the home markets of NSW and Queensland from fans who simply saw it as money wasted. How right they were.

When the salary cap was first introduced way back when I was a kid people always asked "what happens if a team wins the Premiership and they find out later they breached the salary cap?". Now you know. Will anyone risk it again?

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I honestly think that the stripping of points should be done in American sports leagues for major infractions. Like with what happened to the Patriots during the whole videotape scandal. I would've taken away either 1/2 win or a full win from their winning percentage. You can't just hit a team in the wallet -- you need to hinder them in more feasible terms.

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Last season, the Bulldogs got docked 2 standings points for a "too many men on the field" infraction. Clearly, the standards in the NRL are a bit more stringent.

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I just wonder how long they can stay motivated for. A couple of weeks sure, but there is 20 weeks still to play. Watching the game now on TV, I'm not sure if the crowd is any more or less than usual. They've stuck masking tape logos over the top of the ones that quit during the week. This is going to be interesting.

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Well, I don't think anyone expected that to happen. Storm beat the New Zealand Warriors 40-6 yesterday, in front of 23,906 at Etihad Stadium.

Y'know, the more I think about this, the more I disagree with them not being allowed to accumulate points this season. Strip them of the eight they got in the first six weeks, fine. Strip them of their two premierships, fine. But you can't hinder the forward progress of the club as it is right now.

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Well they are playing 20 dead rubbers. How is the club meant to go anywhere?

But at the same time, they did the crime......

It's sad but 4 or 5 dodgy adminstrative personnel have :censored:ed up the whole club.

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"4 or 5 dodgy adminstrative personnel"? I think you're being very generous.

It takes more than a couple people to hide fraud on this scale. Two complete sets of books? I'd suspect that the board knew full well, as did the club's accountants and auditors.

Plus there's the players themselves, who most likely had to hide the true nature of the contracts they signed. Surely they realized the figures quoted in press releases didn't reflect reality. So now there's a whole new level of corruption - the players, their agents and representatives, and whoever negotiated and approved the contracts.

Far from a couple bad apples, it looks as though the club's entire financial structure is rotten.

Y'know, the more I think about this, the more I disagree with them not being allowed to accumulate points this season. Strip them of the eight they got in the first six weeks, fine. Strip them of their two premierships, fine. But you can't hinder the forward progress of the club as it is right now.

If this is still the same roster they accumulated through deceit, then they should not be allowed to accumulate points. The only way I'd agree with allowing them to earn points is if they had to shed all the excess payroll, otherwise the club is still profiting from the cheating.

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