SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 23: Tigers players congratulate Moses Mbye of the Tigers after scoring a try during the round 24 NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Manly Sea Eagles at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on August 23, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Wests Tigers are vigorously defending charges of salary-cap rorting imposed by the NRL’s so-called “very, very clear” rules around payments for post-career roles.

The Tigers have been fined $750,000 club CEO Justin Pascoe has been provisionally de-registered from the NRL, for failing to disclose a $639,000 commitment to club legend Robbie Farah.

Wests felt they needed to offer Farah an ambassadorial role for when he retires after how the club treated him in 2015 before he moved to South Sydney.

The $639,000 will be included in the Tigers’ 2019 salary cap, placing the club under severe financial pressure, meaning the Tigers may need to shed players in order to become cap compliant for 2019.

“What history tells you is that a salary-cap imposition of more than half a million dollars is a massive imposition on the club and a huge outcome for the way their roster is structures,” NRL chief Todd Greenberg said.

“I don’t have an intimate knowledge of their salary cap. I know they have some space, but it will be a significant issue they’ll have to deal with.”

It’s an issue the Tigers must deal with because “the rules on these types of (ambassadorial) arrangements between clubs and players post-career are absolutely clear,” according to the NRL’s chief operating officer Nick Weeks.

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“They have to be approved by the NRL or they go in a cap,” Weeks added

“So at no time until recently did the club disclose to us any existence of that agreement that was signed in September, 2016.

“After Robbie left, the club paid him more money that he was owed under his contract and they approached us to exclude some of those payments on the basis that Robbie was a destabilizing influence on the club.

“Now, what they didn’t disclose when they made that application was that the club had earlier entered into an ambassador agreement to bring him back (after a one season stint in 2017 with South Sydney).

“On our assessment of that, that’s misleading.”

Tigers chair Marina Go declined to discuss the specifics of their challenge, although the club are expected to commence league action against the NRL.

It’s understood by the AAP the joint venture will argue that both Pascoe and the club were guilty of nothing more than an honest mistake and a simple oversight.


  1. Yes they will have to shed a big name player and a certain club which never gets investigated will have ample cap space to include him in thier 2019 roster.

  2. I feel for the Tiger’s supporters, especially having gone through this as an Eels supporter, but I think you’re done.
    From what I’ve read I’m struggling to understand how you can pay a player out of a contract, apply for salary cap relief from that payment (or part thereof) because he’s a “desabling influence” and for “reputational reasons”, whilst offering said player a (very near) future “ambassador’s” role.

  3. Is this the NRLs first step to force Cronulla and the Tigers to relocate? Fine them so heavily they become dependent on the NRL again for survival and apply more financial pressure until they agree to relocate. If so it’s goodbye Rugby League for me. This farce has been going on since the SuperLeague war which caused financial instability with clubs disappearing. I notice Foxtel and the ugly American are still thriving at the expense of Rugby League fans.

    • In short, no.
      It would appear both clubs have breached. You could argue they are being punished too severely, and maybe, but you coild also argue it’s in line with penalties handed out to Manly and Parra recently. You could also argue why did the NRL go after Manly and Parra, what was their “motivation” in those cases?
      As for “financial” pressure, hmmmm? The Tigers are being fined $750k, but saving $640k from their salary cap. I know the $640k from the cap hurts, and will very likely hurt their on field performance etc, but “financially” the club scored a net $110k “financial” penalty. I don’t think that will break them.

  4. We have way too many clubs in Sydney.
    The NRL now have a legal opportunity to do something about it!
    The Sharks and the Tigers,
    If they folded or were forced to relocate, nobody would bat an eyelid.

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