Parramatta Eels' punishment: 12 points and $1m fine
NRL sanctions at a glance
- Stripped of 12 points dropping them from fifth outright last place on the ladder.
- Fined $1 million.
- Stood down five Parramatta club officials.
- Told the Parramatta club they can play for points if they prove their current roster is not over the salary cap which will mean releasing some players.
Parramatta have been set a massive task to make this year's NRL finals after being stripped of their 12 premiership points for alleged salary cap and third party deal breaches.
The club has also been slugged $1 million with three board members deregistered and two administrators shown the door.
NRL boss Todd Greenberg was scathing of certain members of the Parramatta board.
"This is a day nobody in rugby league wanted to see," said Greenberg.
"It's a tough day for one of our great clubs. It's a tough day for our game and a truly heartbreaking day for Parramatta fans and their players.
"Sometimes the hardest thing to do it the right thing to do.
"We have to go through this pain for the long term health of the game.
The club will have five days to respond to the breach notice and have already engaged some senior legal eagles to go over the NRL's sanctions.
The players and Parramatta officials were told of the decision in private by Greenberg this morning, two hours before he announced the penalties to a packed media scrum at Sydney's League Central headquarters.
It means Parramatta head into round 10 of the premiership in last place without a competition point and eight points or four wins out of the top eight.
The will still be able to compete for competition points provided they can prove to the NRL their current team is not over the salary cap of $6.8 million.
It's understood third party deals have pushed the club over the salary cap by more than $500, 00 this season which means will have to release some players and find clubs who can take them under their caps.
Parramatta fans, who had been hoping for their first premiership since 1986 after such a strong start to the season, will be gutted.
But the NRL takes a dim view on systematic rorting of its salary cap, and has handed out similar penalties to offenders in the past having stripped Canterbury of 37 premiership points which ruined their 2002 season.
They threw the book at Melbourne Storm who had their 2007 and 2009 premiership wins taken away from them and were fined a record $1.6 million and made play the entire 2010 season with being able to win any premiership points. after they were exposed as systematic cap cheats under CEO Brian Waldron.
If they can get under the salary cap, they can still make the finals with 12 or 13 wins from their remaining 15 games.
It's left coach Brad Arthur and his players facing a huge mountain but not without hope of still contesting the finals.
But they have to first get under the current cap and 12 or 13 games to makes the finals.
Earlier: Parramatta could plummet out of finals contention when the NRL reveal the Eels' punishment for repeated breaches of its salary cap and third party deals.
The NRL has called a meeting at his Moore Park headquarters at 11.30am when it will reveal the club's penalty.
Foxsports.com.au is reporting the Eels will be docked 12 points.
Reports have also emerged that the club will be fined $1 million, with five officials to be de-registered, and the possibility will remain for Parramatta to play for points in 2016.
It follows three months of intensive investigations into a number of deals done by Parramatta with players, including former Manly team-mates Anthony Watmough and Kieran Foran who has taken time away from the game to deal with his "personal issues".
Earlier, the street talk was Parramatta would be docked eight competition points.
That would drop them from fifth place on 12 points down to 15th place on four points equal with the Sydney Roosters, leaving them four points outside the top eight.
But there's also talk the points penalty could be 12 points or more to drop them back to last place with very little chance of fighting their way back into the top eighth.
The concern for the NRL is that if they only dock the Eels eight points, they could still make the finals and even win the premiership which could be a very bad look considering they have cheated to cap and other rules for multiple years.
There have been calls to hit the club with a massive fine and spare them premiership points and not punish the club, players and fans for the acts of previous administrators.
But the NRL has already set precedents for salary cap cheats since they first introduced it in 1990.
A number of clubs have been fined over the years for salary cap breaches but not all lost premiership points.
However the NRL raised the bar considerably in 2002 when they stripped Canterbury of their 37 premiership points and fined them $500,000 after finding them guilty of systematic breaches totalling more than $2 million over three seasons,
They got even tougher on Melbourne Storm in 2010 stripping the club of two premierships "won" in 2007 and 2009 in the heaviest punishment in Australian sporting history.
Parramatta will be hoping the NRL consider their case and the circumstances around it and shows it some leniency.
Eel's fans will be hoping the same.