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Eels slapped with 12-points deduction and $1 million fineChoice of three as members prepare to decide destinyPlayers reject offer to meet with Todd GreenbergSemi Radradra faces six weeks on the sidelinesEXCLUSIVE: Eels star allegedly given cash in car park
苏州美甲美睫培训学校

The NRL will turn its attention to the role of player managers – and potentially players – in the next phase of its investigation into Parramatta’s systematic rorting of the salary cap.

The governing body confirmed its provisional sanctions against the embattled club on Saturday, including the docking of 12 competition points, a $1 million fine and the stripping of the Auckland Nines title.

Eels officials had the opportunity to shave $250,000 off the sanction if they had undertaken appropriate governance reforms, but their antagonistic stance against head office resulted in the potential reduction being withdrawn from the table.

Five administrators, known as the “gang of five” – chairman Steve Sharp, deputy chairman Tom Issa, director Peter Serrao, chief executive John Boulous and football manager Daniel Anderson – have had their registrations cancelled for their roles in the scandal. The NRL suspected more officials were in on the rorts, but decided to only breach those it had a solid case against.

While Saturday officially marked the day the competition table was readjusted – the Eels now sit in 12th spot and need to win all of their remaining games to be a chance of playing finals football – the NRL’s probe isn’t over yet.

The next phase will look at the role of player managers, who could also face deregistration if it can be proven they were part of the illegal payments scheme.

“This part of the investigation closes today,” NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said on Saturday.

“But what we have been doing is continuing to look at other parts. I would expect in coming weeks there will be a file handed over to the agents accreditation committee, which will look at another range of material issues.”

Asked if it was likely agents would be breached, Greenberg said: “That’s not a decision for me. That’s a decision for the agent’s accreditation board, the way the rules are governed. We will pass the information over to them and it will ultimately be a decision for them.”

When Sharp’s regime came to power in 2013, it was bombarded by disgruntled player agents claiming they were left out of pocket from previous administrators. But instead of referring the matter to the NRL, officials instead tried to fulfil the dodgy promises and conceal their tracks. Fairfax Media understands the roles of at least four high-profile agents will be scrutinised in coming weeks.

While there have been previous salary cap scandals, this marked the first time in history that a club had been penalised for paying players in cash.

Asked if the focus could also shift to the players, Greenberg said: “What was important that we did today was finish this part of the investigation because it has an impact on the competition, an impact on every other club and the fans. We are very very conscious to get this part done. If there’s more work that needs to be done, we will do that in time.”

One of the main methods the Eels used to illegally overpay players was via third-party arrangements (TPAs). On several occasions, Parramatta guaranteed payments or did not disclose that they were not at arm’s length from the club.

The drama has again thrown the spotlight on the TPA system, particularly given some clubs have greater access to corporate cash than others. The NRL will consider capping TPAs as part of its review into the system.

“That’s something we’re going to look at and will form part of the negotiation with the collective bargaining agreement with the players,” Greenberg said.

Pressed on whether the system was in urgent need of review, he said: “The short answer is yes.”

The NRL took about a month to consider the response of the Eels and five officials before upholding its provisional punishments.

“The overall impression that I got from the responses is that no one at the club has taken responsibility for the deliberate, systemic and blatant breaches of the salary cap,” Greenberg said.

While some members of the “gang of five” will likely accept the NRL’s decision, others are giving serious consideration to avail themselves of one last appeals process.

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