Melbourne independent directors to commence legal proceedings against NRL

The four independent directors of Melbourne Storm have today voted unanimously for Melbourne Storm to commence legal proceedings in the Supreme Court of Victoria to challenge the NRL decision-making process and penalties imposed on Melbourne Storm by the NRL on 22 April.

In making their decision, the four directors have sought independent legal advice and carefully considered the interests of the Melbourne Storm stakeholders - its members, fans, supporters, staff, players and sponsors.

The NRL's decision-making process was not fair, impartial or transparent. The NRL also did not provide the Club with an opportunity to obtain independent legal advice before imposing penalties or to argue about the appropriateness of the penalties that should be imposed.

News Limited chairman and chief executive, John Hartigan, said yesterday the organization acknowledges how "devastating this has been for the fans, players, staff and sponsors of the Storm". These people, while not being the financial owners of Melbourne Storm, are the spiritual and emotional owners of the club.

The directors of Melbourne Storm seek that the Club should be provided with a fair impartial and transparent process to deal with these very serious issues of breaching the salary cap and, if granted, the Club will comply with the NRL's process in a new hearing. Moreover, the Club will abide by the outcome of any fair, impartial and transparent process at which the Club is independently represented. And they will also encourage all of the Melbourne Storm stakeholders to do likewise.

The directors intend to seek an urgent and expeditious resolution of this legal proceeding in the best interests of the Club, its stakeholders and the League.

Rob Moodie, Petra Fawcett, Peter Maher, Gerry Ryan