BULLDOGS ADMIT SALARY CAP BREACH

MEDIA RELEASE

The Bulldogs have today advised the National Rugby League of substantial breaches by the club in relation to the salary cap.

Bulldogs Chairman, Barry Nelson, Club Chief Executive, Bob Hagan, and League Club President Gary McIntyre today made the admissions to the NRL.

Present at the meeting from the NRL were Board Chairman Mr John Chalk, Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop and salary cap auditor, Mr Ian Schubert.

"What was unveiled was an elaborate use of payments by parties other than the football club to breach the salary cap rules," Mr Gallop said today.

"Rather than a breach by way of interpretation of types of payments, there has been a deliberate disregard of the rules by persons at the club which has resulted in substantial payments above the $3.25million cap.

"The club has today detailed a $600,000 breach for the 2001 season, a $400,000 breach for 2002.

"On the one hand it is rewarding that the Bulldogs have come forward with an open attitude today, but clearly there has been conduct designed to gain an unfair advantage over the other teams in the competition.

"In accepting what the Bulldogs have put forward today, we remain firm in the view that the Salary Cap auditors must have unfettered access to all aspects of the club and its associated entities to confirm the extent of the breach.

"The Bulldogs have today told us that subject to the suitable confidentiality arrangements that there will be no document to which the NRL will be denied access.

"We understand the need for all concerned, particularly the fans and players to be given some certainty over the issue but that is not possible until a thorough investigation has taken place.

"There will be a Board meeting of the NRL called immediately that investigation is completed.

"The 2002 competition has been a tremendous boost for the game of Rugby League and this instance should not detract from the tremendous efforts of the players and the fans this year.

"While the NRL has sympathy for the players and the fans of the Bulldogs it also has to bear in mind the interests of the players and fans of the other 14 teams.

"Since 2001, the NRL has issued fines totalling more than $600,000 over salary cap issues and the Bulldogs themselves have been among the clubs penalised.

"There have been between 70 and 80 players change clubs in the last two years with much of that movement the result of salary cap pressure. This does not include players who have gone overseas.

"The cap is biting hard and clubs are adhering to the cap.

"Given the need to distribute talent and the need to prevent clubs from overspending the salary cap plays a critical role.

"This is a clear issue around the conduct of one club in relation to a deliberate breach of the rules.

"It is significant that the Bulldogs made it clear in today's meeting that they do not cast aspersions on the behaviour of any other club."

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