NRL accused of foxing by Storm lawyer - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL accused of foxing by Storm lawyer

By Daniel Fogarty 04/06/2010 06:25:44 PM Comments (0)

The NRL are "foxing" by pretending they want the Melbourne Storm court case to be finalised soon, says a lawyer for the club.

The Storm's four independent directors are seeking a Victorian Supreme Court injunction to restrain the NRL from imposing their salary cap breach penalties, which included stripping the club of their 2007 and 2009 premiership and preventing them earning competition points this season.

They argue the penalties are in breach of NRL rules and the decision-making process in imposing them was not fair.

On Friday, Justice Tony Pagone questioned why the case should be given priority over a long list of civil disputes.

He said the only time the case could be heard this year was for three days in August.

The NRL finals are due to commence on September 10.

If the case is not heard in August the matter might not be heard until February or March, the court was told.

Storm barrister Allan Myers, QC, said the matter needed to be decided urgently.

"The rugby season will be over before it is dealt with if we do not deal with it soon," he said.

NRL lawyer Michael O'Bryan said the NRL was also keen for the matter to be dealt with expeditiously, believing it was in the best interests of the competition.

"We don't want to slow this matter down," he said.

"We would like to have this matter resolved and concluded because it is better for the competition.

But Mr Myers disputed that.

"My friend is foxing, pretending he wants the matter to be heard soon, but really is doing everything he can to avoid it," he said.

Mr Myers said the Storm wanted access to NRL documents because it needed to understand the internal procedures of the league.

In its statement of defence filed earlier this week, the NRL asked the court for a declaration that the penalties were lawfully imposed and are legally binding on the Storm.

The statement alleges Storm director Rob Moodie accepted the penalty at a meeting on April 22 and said the club would not appeal against it.

The NRL says the Storm, its parent company Valimanda, and the NRL jointly agreed not to follow the usual procedure for the imposition of penalties.

Mr Moodie also waived the requirement for a breach notice to be served on the Storm, the statement alleges.

The matter will return to court for a further directions hearing on Wednesday.

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