It seems as though the NRL needs more enforcement personnel on deck, as the various clubs demonstrate endless creativity in getting around the salary cap. Maybe they could get a few of those manning the replay bunker, which would give truth to the statement that justice is blind.
West Tigers beat the deadline to respond to the most recent breach notices, with the club and CEO Justin Pascoe having their says.
Pascoe was deregistered, which is an extra-special form of double secret probation. The club was hit with a $750,000 fine and a deduction of $639,000 from their 2019 payroll.
The violation seemingly involved a failure by Wests to reveal that they had offered a post-career ambassadorial role to Robbie Farah when he left the club in 2016.
Wests and Pascoe may have been hoping to gain some leniency by responding early, apparently accepting some responsibility in the hopes of having the penalty lightened.
“We reject that the club has breached the NRL rules or that our conduct warrants the sanctions proposed,” Wests chair Marina Go said in December.
Pascoe has lawyered up, retaining an attorney form Brydens Lawyers.
The league was mum regarding when it would issue a final verdict, so the early response from the club and Pascoe seems to be about as effective as our tactic of avoiding overdue library book fines by making mention of all the times we have returned books ahead of the due date.
The crux of the argument from the club is that it gained no competitive advantage by offering Farah a role as club ambassador. The fact that Farah never accepted the deal is immaterial in the eyes of the league.
It seems that the whole situation could benefit from a hefty dose of common sense, but after all, it is the NRL.