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Gallop: NRL has power to expel
The Bulldogs could face expulsion from the National Rugby League competition if misconduct is proven and is serious enough, according to NRL boss David Gallop.
Speaking on Sydney radio station 2GB this morning, Mr Gallop said the NRL have full power in relation to the penalties they can impose on clubs.
"Clubs are accountable for their people," Mr Gallop said. "So we have the ability to take action against the club in the manner of fines or other penalties that we have imposed before on clubs.
"Our rules are comprehensive and we have the full power to do a range of things including expelling teams from our competition if the conduct was serious enough."
Mr Gallop would not speculate on what penalties, if any, would be imposed on the Bulldogs if misconduct was proven in an independent report being prepared for the NRL following the club's recent trip to Coffs Harbour.
The NRL's investigation focuses on the trip as a whole and not the alleged sexual assault that is currently in the hands of police.
Police are expected to interview and possibly DNA test a range of Bulldogs players today over the alleged incident.
Mr Gallop says the current controversy puts a dampener on what has been an eagerly awaited build-up for the 2004 season.
"It's been a huge disappointment, its tough on people who work hard over the off season to get ourselves ready for 2004," Mr Gallop told 2GB.
"The footy is still going to be great and I suppose people can get out there and let the footy do the talking."
Mr Gallop said he expected to have the results from the NRL's independent investigation into the Bulldogs' Coffs Harbour trip over the next couple of days.
"We felt it was important that the conduct over the course of the weekend and also since then is looked at by the league by an independent investigator," Mr Gallop said. "I am hopeful that we will get some reports over the next day or so."
Mr Gallop also hinted that trips to regional centres for trial matches would be placed under tough scrutiny in the future.
"These trips to regional centres are very important to the game," he said.
"It's a great shame that this has put a stain over that type of exercise, which the vast majority of players enjoy doing."