The Parramatta rugby league club has been placed in administration by the NSW Independent Liquor & Gaming Authority (ILGA).
The ILGA used its powers under the Registered Clubs Act to intervene and sack the board, appointing Max Donnelly of Ferrier Hodgson as administrator.
NSW deputy premier Troy Grant welcomed the decision saying Donnelly can now clean up the club.
“It is in the best interest of the club, the league and the fans of Parramatta Eels to draw a line under this saga and restore confidence in the club’s administration,” he said.
“The Authority’s decision enables a new start for Parramatta Leagues.”
The NSW Nationals leader flagged sacking the board last week, under legislative changes that gave the ILGA increased powers last year.
Parramatta chairman Steve Sharp resigned on the weekend, saying an administrator should be appointed and telling Grant the club was riven by “deep-seated political issues”, conceding the governance could not be effective.
“I trust that the state of NSW will be able to do what myself and the board were unable to do and overcome the political, constitutional and organisational challenges that need to be addressed at the club before handing it back to the members,” Sharp said.
Fans had been attempting to call an emergency general meeting (EGM) to spill the board, but three attempts were blocked by the club, with CEO Bevan Paul blaming “legal problems”.
The deputy premier had accused the board of putting self interest above everything else.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg also backed the government’s plan to topple the board on Twitter over the weekend.
Lots of questions & concerns re Eels…We strongly support any government move to make the Parramatta Eels strong.Players & fans deserve it!
— Todd Greenberg (@Todd_Greenberg) July 16, 2016
Parramatta’s problems began when systemic salary cap breaches worth $3 million, dating back to 2013, we discovered. The club was planning to fight some the sanctions imposed by the NRL, including a $1 million fine and loss of 12 competition points.
The club was found to have used false invoices and under-the-table payments in an attempt to get around the cap. The NSW Police fraud squad is also investigating the matter.
Sharp, deputy chair Tom Issa, director Peter Serrao, former CEO John Boulous and football manager Daniel Anderson were all banned from the game by the NRL.
The club’s woes this year, also include back Corey Norman being caught with drugs at Sydney’s Star Casino in May. He pleaded guilty to possession last week. The club was prepared to let him play on the weekend until the NRL intervened.
Winger Semi Radradra is facing domestic violence charges and is due to return to court on August 16, while former Manly player Kieran Foran walked out on the club due to personal issues, including a gambling problem and The Daily Telegraph today revealed it had secret recordings of board meetings in February
when they spent $300,000 of members’ funds for a $30,000 illegal third party agreement for Foran.
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