NRL probes Warriors over salary cap - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL probes Warriors over salary cap

By Peter Williams 21/02/2006 06:17:05 PM Comments (0)

The New Zealand Warriors face an investigation into salary cap breaches, reportedly up to $1 million, left behind by its former management.

The NRL announced its salary cap auditors had found breaches in a pre-season check and "are examining a number of previously undisclosed issues relating to past seasons and possibly affecting the 2006 season".

Without giving details, the Auckland-based club said the probe concerned some player payments and arrangements organised by the previous administration.

The Warriors sought to distance the club from any impropriety by pointing out that the items under question were negotiated by a previous management team, with former chief executive Mick Watson resigning at the end of last season after five years in the job.

In 2004 the Warriors imported four high-profile players from Australia, including national representatives Steve Price and Ruben Wiki.

It is the second salary cap breach by the Warriors after being fined $100,000 in 2001.

The latest breach has the potential to attract competition points deductions, like what happened to the Bulldogs in 2002 when they fell from the top of the ladder to wooden spooners after being caught with massive infringements.

"It is a possibility I think and we are fighting to make sure it is not," chairman Maurice Kidd told the Ten Network.

"Absolutely I am concerned. I am very annoyed about it because these sort of things you never want to happen and should not be there."

Kidd promised to work with the NRL to resolve the situation and would honour all contracts with players.

"We are in the process of clarifying the extent and current status of these arrangements and what obligations they may place on the club for the 2006 season and beyond, as well as any possible impact on the salary cap," Kidd said.

"It is fundamental to everything we are building on and off the field that we work closely with the NRL and act swiftly to ensure that there are no ongoing issues around the salary cap."

NRL chief executive David Gallop welcomed the Warriors' cooperation but said any breach of the $3.25 million salary cap was a serious matter.

"They are to be commended for their attitude to date but any breach of the cap remains a serious matter," said Gallop.

"It is not normal for us to comment on an investigation until all findings are completed but in this instance the Warriors have chosen to go public with the issue in the interests of transparency.

"That is a reflection of their intention to see the matter concluded but again it does not negate the need to ensure that appropriate action is taken should any breaches be confirmed.

"The salary cap has brought significant benefit to the game in recent years and it is important for all clubs and all fans that we continue to rigorously enforce it.

"There are too many positives going into the 2006 season for us not to ensure these matters are addressed as quickly as possible."

NRL spokesman John Brady said the process for this salary cap audit was "a little bit out of the ordinary".

"There's certainly been some significant questions raised, we just have to see what the answers to those are," Brady said.

He said the investigation should be completed before the NRL season starts on March 10.

The Warriors playing squad were briefed about the matter on the Gold Coast, where they are training for a pre-season trial against the Bulldogs on Saturday.

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