Former Storm chief Brian Waldron claims cheating rife in the NRL

Former Melbourne Storm chief executive Brian Waldron, who has been accused of being the architect of the club’s systemic salary cap rorting, has claimed salary cap cheating is rife in the NRL and says he will tell all at a judicial inquiry.

Waldron, who was sacked from his new jobs as chief executive of the Melbourne Rebels rugby union club on Friday, has been restricted in what he can say on the scandal because of legal advice, but has said he would be willing to provide evidence under oath to an official inquiry.

He has also taken aim at the owner of the Melbourne Storm, media giant News Limited, which has claimed it has no knowledge of the salary cap rorting.

”I am… prepared to give the entire background to Rupert Murdoch so that he has a full understanding of how his company has managed a $66 million investment in the Melbourne Storm since its inception,” Waldron said in a statement.

A spokesman for News dismissed the claims as a “carefully constructed charade” designed to deflect attention from Waldron himself.

Comments from sources close to Waldron suggest he went to NRL chief executive David Gallop back in 2007 to discuss how widespread salary cap rorting was in the league. It has been reported Waldron also requested an amnesty on salary cap issues to allow clubs to get their books straight.

However, Gallop has said he does not recall such a conversation and says the league was not in a position to offer clubs an amnesty.

While Waldron’s claim will be seen by many as an attempt to deflect attention from his own situation, further salary cap scandals would further rock the NRL which is still reeling from the Melbourne Storm scandal.

Examples of rorts at other clubs would also be bad news for News Limited, which is a 50% shareholder in the NRL and also owns a large stake in the publicly-listed Brisbane Broncos club.

In further developments over a dramatic weekend:

  • The NRL told the Australian Financial Review that it did not need to expand its salary cap auditing team, which is made up of lead auditors Ian Schubert and one other accountant.
  • Caravan company Jayco became Melbourne Storm’s main sponsor after the clubs main backers, ME Bank and super fund HOSTPLUS, withdrew their support.
  • Melbourne Storm chairman Rob Moodie raised the prospect of appealing against the sanctions handed down against the Storm.
  • The Storm players shrugged off the scandal to demolish the New Zealand Warriors in a 40-6 win on Sunday night.

News Limited has appointed forensic accountants from Deloitte to investigate Melbourne Storm’s business practices. The matter has also been referred to the police.

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