Huge sports news coming out of NRL HQ this morning, with the Parramatta Eels levelled huge penalties for systemic breaches of the salary cap.

The Eels have been slugged with a $1million fine, and will have all 12 of their Premiership Points accumulated in season 2016 thus far stripped, after the NRL found that the club used third party payments to overpay players and exceed the league-mandated salary cap.

The NRL has also confirmed that the Eels are as much as $570,000 over the salary cap, and will have to immediately shed players and get under the limit in order to continue to play for premiership points this year.

In addition, the club will have its 2016 Auckland Nines title stripped, with the title to be declared as won by no one – much in the same way as the 2007 and 2009 NRL Premierships that were stripped from the Melbourne Storm following similar systemic salary cap rorting.

5 club officials – chairman Steve Sharp, deputy chairman Tom Issa, director Peter Serrao, CEO John Boulous, and head of football Daniel Anderson – have all been deregistered by the NRL, and will be subsequently stood down from the club.

The sanctions all-but ends the Eels hopes of returning to finals football after a reasonably promising start to the year. Before the punishments were revealed, Parra sat 5th on the ladder on 12 points, with a 6-3 record. The stripping of points will see them tumble immediately to the bottom of the ladder, effectively starting their season all over again in Round 10. In essence, the rest of the season becomes a situation of “playing for pride” for the club.

The NRL ruled that the club had procured third party agreements, paying players undisclosed amounts of money from their own resources, and conspired with club suppliers to either inflate or completely falsify invoices in order to raise extra cash that was then forwarded on to players.

Parra’s hierarchy is understood to be prepared to take court action against the NRL and the punishments, on the basis of not being afforded procedural fairness.

The Eels’ next scheduled game is still set for Friday night, May 13th against the South Sydney Rabbitohs.

Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

Photo: Mark Nolan/Getty.