Cronulla Sharks investigated over ‘suspicious payments’

THE NRL is at threat of becoming a “laughing stock” after the Cronulla Sharks were pinned for an alleged salary cap issue on Tuesday.

news.com.auAugust 28, 20187:22pm

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    Cronulla Sharks under salary cap investigation3:25

    NRL: The 360 panel reveal the Cronulla Sharks are under investigation from the NRL for salary cap irregularities.

    • August 28th 2018
    • 5 hours ago
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      The Cronulla Sharks have been targeted.Source:Supplied

      THE Cronulla Sharks are the latest club under the spotlight in a potential salary cap bombshell unfolding on Tuesday.

      The top-eight club, which won its first premiership in 2016, is being investigated by the NRL’s integrity unit for “suspicious payments dating back to 2015”.

      The Daily Telegraph’s Phil Rothfield reported the amount involved “is around the $250,000 mark but could go higher once thousands of documents have been examined”.

      “Now they’ve taken our server, we don’t know what they’ll find.” an anonymous Sharks official said.

      Cronulla’s new chief executive Barry Russell said that while he did find some “historical cap issues” after conducting a review, the club was cap compliant for the 2018 season.

      “We conducted a full governance review when I first started in March,” he said.

      “We discovered some historical cap issues in relation to third party payments.

      “We self-declared to the NRL and have since been working with the integrity unit in an ongoing investigation. We cannot tolerate anything that’s done against NRL guidelines.

      “Importantly for the 2018 season we are cap compliant.”

      The developing scandal is the last thing the Sharks need late in the season while chasing a second premiership.

      Veteran Daily Telegraph journalist Paul Kent said the latest incident threatened to turn the NRL into an international joke.

      “The NRL has to take this issue seriously under threat of being a laughing stock. It’s becoming an annual event. We don’t hear about it happening in the US with the NFL or baseball,” Kent said on NRL 360.

      “They treat it as a bit of a joke, a bit like going 65km in a 60 zone.”

      Kent said harsher penalties had to be implemented to rub out future salary cap breaches.

      “If you’re caught cheating. You’re out for the contract. I would ban managers as well,” he said.

      Co-host and Queensland legend Ben Ikin said the latest bombshell was proof the competition was fast becoming a joke.

      Sharks veteran Luke Lewis said he wasn’t concerned with the issue affecting the playing group.

      “I have no idea, I was very surprised (hearing the news),” Lewis said on NRL 360. “To be brutally honest mate, we've been through it all before. Us as players don’t worry about that, we just turn up and train hard.”

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