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NRL to probe Storm-linked charity

06/05/2010 11:15:13 PM Comments (0)

An insolvency firm is investigating payments made to AFL players by a charity linked to the Melbourne Storm NRL salary cap scandal.

Investigators for the NRL are probing the now-defunct Unity Foundation to determine whether the charity was used to steer money to Storm players outside the salary cap.

Insolvency firm Vince & Associates has now confirmed it has also asked AFL players about payments they received from Unity Foundation, a charity established for indigenous teenagers.

The players include several Essendon players and at least one St Kilda player, the Nine Network reported on Thursday night.

"We're investigating the liquidation of Unity Foundation. Our investigations have identified some payments to players of Essendon and St Kilda and Melbourne Storm," Vince & Associates director Kylie Wright told Nine.

"We're investigating all of the payments.

"We're contacting all of the relevant parties and giving them an opportunity to provide an explanation in relation to those payments."

Nine reported the AFL and St Kilda declined to comment on the investigations involving the charity.

But Essendon chief executive Ian Robson said the payments to players appeared legitimate, although the Bombers were looking into the matter.

"From what I am led to believe from an initial two-hour glance the relationships are at arm's length of the Essendon Football Club and appear to be bona fide, but we need to do some more investigation," Robson told Nine.

The NRL last month stripped the Storm of their 2007 and 2009 premierships and fined the club $1.6 million for long-term breaches of the salary cap.

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