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I wont be made a scapegoat - Waldron

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by fLIP, Apr 27, 2010.

  1. fLIP

    fLIP UFO Hunter

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    THE former Melbourne Storm chief executive Brian Waldron has hit back at News Limited and the NRL for their involvement in the club's salary cap rorts, rejecting their depiction of him as the sole architect of the scheme.

    Breaking his silence for the first time since the scandal broke last week, Mr Waldron has called for a public inquiry into salary cap cheating, which he says has spread through NRL clubs over several years.

    In a statement, Mr Waldron said he would ''tell everything I know'' to any properly constituted, transparent inquiry that required evidence under oath.

    He singled out News Ltd for pointed criticism, stating: ''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.''

    Mr Waldron's advisers are intrigued by the new role of veteran News Ltd rugby league troubleshooter Frank Stanton.

    Mr Stanton is painted in some quarters as ''a clean pair of hands'' assigned to clean up the salary cap mess. But it is not the first time News has sent Mr Stanton to Victoria: he arrived to settle an alleged $700,000 salary cap breach in 2004 that occurred on the watch of the foundation Storm chief executive, John Ribot - before Mr Waldron started at the club.

    In a meeting at a friend's city office, the casually dressed former official spoke fluently, forcefully and at length, sticking to legal advice not to talk about the salary issue.

    He laughed off the ''Where's Wally'' jibes of recent days, saying he had gone about normal activities: watching his son play football in Camberwell, going to his mother's 79th birthday and having dinner with friends.

    He stressed he had ''strong legal advice'' not to comment publicly on methods NRL clubs used to evade salary cap rules that limit ''third party'' payments to $150,000 above a player's base salary. The advice is because of the possibility police will investigate the affair.

    But Mr Waldron has confided in friends, family and former workmates since the scandal erupted last Thursday, when the NRL announced it had stripped Melbourne Storm of its two premierships, fined it $500,000 and forced it to return $1.1million in prize money. The club was banned from accruing any premiership points this season.

    Sources close to Waldron said he is determined not to let powerful interests use him as a scapegoat for a payment system he says was corrupted well before he joined Melbourne Storm (from AFL club St Kilda) in 2005.

    One well-placed source said Mr Waldron had named News Ltd executives and NRL executives as being aware of claims of widespread salary cap cheating for years. Mr Waldron believed News Ltd - the owner of Melbourne Storm - and the NRL have vested interests in deflecting attention from suggestions they knew about systemic pay cheating.

    Mr Waldron has told several people he warned the NRL chief, David Gallop, three years ago that systemic salary rorting was ''a cancer'' that affected every NRL club except Canberra, which was too broke to pay players more than it should. But he said Mr Gallop had ignored the warning and never raised the matter with him again.

    Mr Gallop last night said if the conversation had taken place, he could not recall it.

    A source said Mr Waldron had called Mr Gallop in 2007 as a scandal was brewing at the Newcastle Knights after an accountant alleged systematic rorts there.
     

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