The National Rugby League has today stripped the Melbourne Storm of the 2007 and 2009 Telstra Premierships, the Minor Premierships of 2006-8 and of its 2010 competition points after confirming a series of salary cap breaches amounting to at least $1.7million over five years.
The club will lose all competition points earned to date in 2010 and also the right to accumulate points going forward in 2010 (competition tables will record wins and losses but the club will not be awarded competition points on the basis of any wins). These measures are effective as of today.
The club has furthermore been fined $500,000 and will be forced to return $1.1million in prize-money with the prize-money being distributed evenly among the other fifteen clubs.
Individual awards by players will continue to be recognised but records will be adjusted to show that the Premiership is not recognised even though the result cannot be overturned. Neither Manly nor Parramatta will assume the Premiership titles in their respective years.
The Storm's Chairman and Chief Executive met with the NRL in Sydney today to confirm the extent of the breaches uncovered by NRL Salary Cap Auditor Ian Schubert and his audit team.
The investigations have revealed the Storm maintained a dual contract system and the club has today confirmed that side letters promising extra payments were stored in a secret file at the home of the Chief Executive.
The accounts were structured in such a way that it would appear the commitments were not apparent to either the Melbourne Storm Board or its owners.
The NRL has uncovered breaches estimated to be in excess of $1.7million over five years, around $400,000 in 2009 and with a projected breach of $700,000 in 2010.