The Gold Coast Titans have been fined $300,000 and docked four NRL Competition Points for breaches of the salary cap, the NRL announced today.
The club has had $75,000 of its fine and the loss of the four competition points suspended because it self-reported the breach and co-operated fully with the investigation.
Four other clubs have been issued with fines totalling more than $90,000 for less serious salary cap breaches.
General Manager of Integrity, Nick Weeks said all clubs are on notice that they risk losing competition points and face heavy fines if they attempt to cheat the salary cap rules in future.
He said the Titans penalty was issued following an investigation by the NRL Integrity Unit which was instigated by the new management of the club.
It found that a former player, Scott Prince was paid substantially more than the contract lodged with the NRL by a previous Titans administration. This difference in remuneration was never disclosed by the previous Titans administration or Mr Prince and was only unearthed by the new management.
Mr Prince’s role as an NRL One Community Ambassador expires this month and will not be renewed.
The investigation found no evidence of systemic rorting of the salary cap at the club.
The suspended fine and points will be applied if there are any further salary cap breaches by the Titans over the next two years.
Mr Weeks said the Titans penalty was no reflection on the current administration which had worked with the NRL to resolve the matter.
A separate salary cap investigation was conducted at the Brisbane Broncos but no evidence of any breach of the salary cap rules has been identified.
Mr Weeks said the investigation was impeded because it was not possible to obtain information from the Broncos Leagues Club and others from the Broncos who have left the game.
“Given the evidence currently before us, there are former officials from both clubs who are unlikely to be registered to be involved in the NRL in the future,” he said.
Mr Weeks said other penalties for salary cap breaches in 2013 were:
• Sea Eagles ($6,000 –overspend breach)
• Knights ($35,519 – overspend breach)
• Roosters ($40,000 – comprised of $20,000 fine and $20,000 suspended for two years.The penalty relates to a lack of substantive notes of negotiation)
• Tigers ($9,326 – NYC overspend)
“I am satisfied that clubs are generally attempting to meet their salary cap duties,” Mr Weeks said.
“But all clubs are on notice that we have drawn a line in the sand.
“If clubs breach the salary cap in the future they will face heavy penalties, including the loss of competition points.”