NRL 3 years ago

Dave Smith- Hands Off Our Club

  • Dave Smith- Hands Off Our Club
If the NRL thinks they can bully Parramatta over their past salary cap issues then they've thought wrong.

It was revealed in 2014 that the Eels had been paying a large number of players who were no longer with the club due financial mismanagement.

As a result, the club had broken the salary cap in order to field a competitive team each week. 

It was found that past administrators were responsible for the breaches and the current administration had already rectified the situation.

Meaning, both the 2015 and 2016 rosters were under the cap.

Then, in May 2015, in comes Dave Smith and his band of merry men- The Independent Commission.

They hand out a fine of more than half a million dollars and threaten the deduction of 2016 competition points if the Eels do not agree to an independent corporate governance review.

The Eels have stood firm, saying that PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), whom the club has dealt with in the past, will conduct their review.

The NRL is concerned that PwC are too close to the club and are worried about the scope of the review that will be carried out.

I'm not sure which planet Dave Smith is from, but with his corporate banking background he should know about the professionalism of PwC.

So, is the NRL suggesting that PwC are not reliable enough to complete an independent corporate governance review?

Well, this is the same NRL that has, in recent times, bowed to the pressure of a vocal minority when it's come to rules changes.

The same NRL that continues to believe their salary cap is a non-issue.

"One of the reasons that we announced not just a financial penalty, but we also require that there is a review done which is both about their capabilities... I say that from a fan's perspective," Smith said.

Sorry Dave, if you had any idea about the fans, you'd understand they wouldn't trust you or your commission as far as they could throw them.

It's no secret the NRL wants control over a number of clubs. They've already achieved that with the Newcastle Knights, Wests Tigers and Gold Coast Titans.

Now they're attempting it with the Eels.

The NRL wishes to conduct an "independent" review of the Eels and have told the club they must apply all governance changes listed by the review.

Would it just be a coincidence if the review recommended an independent director?

As to how the NRL thinks they could appoint an independent director is not so clear. 

The Leagues club is governed by a constitution and State Law. The club pays for the NRL licence.

The NRL has very little power over the Leagues club and the appointment of directors, according to the constitution, can only be completed by a vote from the club's membership.

Dave Smith thinks he can interfere with our club. He's wrong.

The Eels have been around for nearly 70 years, they have the second largest membership base in New South Wales and are one of the NRL's biggest money-makers.

So go ahead Smith, try to bully us into submission. Eels fans are as tough as they come and they won't stand idly by whilst you try and take control of the club.

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