Financial scandal looms for Force




The Herald newspaper in Australia has reported that the Western Force Super 14 franchise has been discovered making secret payments of more than A$300,000 ($247,500) during 2006, directly to players, and in blatant contravention of ARU protocols.

Nathan Sharpe, Scott Fava, Cameron Shepherd and Chris O’Young are said to be the recipients, although none of the quartet is said to have been actively or knowingly involved in any wrongdoing.

The financial trails of the money supposedly lead back to the formation of the Force and its first season in 2006, with the franchise guaranteeing players paid employment if they relocated to Perth, and promising to compensate them if that employment fell through, which is what happened.

Under the ARU protocols, teams are generally only allowed to pay players $110,000 ($85,000) a year, in addition to a set of agreed extras such as cars and housing allowances. International players also receive additional wages from the ARU.

The payments to the four players are apparently hidden outside of the ‘player costs’ for the Force in 2006.

The Force is already under investigation for contract negotiation irregularities by the ARU, after it was revealed that Al Kanaar was tempted by third-party arrangements in an offer.

Western Force chairman Geoff Stooke said on Wednesday he would not “confirm or otherwise” the existence of the payments.

“I don’t know who your source is and I am not prepared to comment on it,” he said to the newspaper’s reporter.

The club responded to a set of written questions from the newspaper by stating: “Players salaries are a confidential matter which we are not prepared to discuss. As you have misrepresented us previously, we having nothing further to add.”


365 Digital

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