Justice - Player Managers

Winging it
Leading agents' fight for survival goes up a grade

Brad Walter SMH
August 4, 2006

HUNDREDS of players may be forced to find new managers at the end of the season if leading agents Jim Banaghan and George Mimis have their accreditations revoked.

With compulsory accreditation of player agents set to be introduced when the new collective bargaining agreement between the Rugby League Professionals Association and the NRL comes into force on November 1, Banaghan and Mimis face the possibility of being unable to operate.

The pair, whose clients include some of the biggest names in the NRL, have been asked by the Player Agent Accreditation Committee to show cause why action should not be taken against them over their involvement in the Warriors salary cap scandal.

Banaghan and Mimis are accused of accepting free flights to Auckland from the Warriors, not declaring commercial agreements for their clients to the NRL, and other misdemeanours.

Despite conflicting legal opinions over whether the committee has the power to impose penalties for anything that happened before the voluntary agent accreditation scheme came into force last off-season, PAAC chairman Geoff Bellew said the investigation into Banaghan and Mimis was continuing.

While the case has become bogged down by legal argument, it is understood fresh documents have emerged that raise more questions about the role of managers in the Warriors' $860,000 salary cap breach over the previous two seasons, and Banaghan and Mimis have been asked for further explanations.

Banaghan manages eight players at the Warriors, headed by Ruben Wiki, Nathan Fien and Brent Webb, while Mimis's sole client is captain Steve Price.

Mimis also looks after the affairs of Mark Gasnier, Darren Lockyer and Brett Kimmorley, among others, while Banaghan's other clients include the likes of Justin Hodges, Josh Hannay and the Monaghan brothers, Michael and Joel.

Banaghan and Mimis have threatened to take legal action if they have their accreditations revoked after obtaining and submitting legal advice challenging the PAAC's ability to investigate the dealings of player agents retrospectively.

The NRL and the PAAC are understood to have received up to three independent legal opinions, two of which dispute the views of the agents' lawyers.

With the prospect of a court case featuring two of the biggest player agents in the game, the NRL is believed to be cautious about the PAAC proceeding with action against Mimis and Banaghan unless the prospects of winning are extremely high.

After operating a voluntary scheme until now, the NRL and RLPA have agreed that accreditation of managers should be compulsory.

Under such a move, the NRL would not accept contracts from November 1 negotiated by unregistered agents.

"The players' association has certainly indicated a desire for it to happen," NRL chief executive David Gallop said. "Ultimately it is the players' agents who are regulated under that system."

The PAAC board is chaired by Bellew, a Sydney lawyer and former chairman of the Northern Eagles, and includes two representatives of the Player Managers Executive, David Riolo and Allan Gainey, with Andrew Purcell appointed as an independent agent.

Others on the board are RLPA chairman and Canberra hooker Simon Woolford, the NSWRL's Martin Meredith and school's representative Bruce Wallace, while Paul Osborne is the PAAC chief operating officer but does not have a vote.
Journey Man
Good. Can't stand Banaghan.
Mimis is a different story though. I'm quite surprised. From what I have read and seen with his dealings, he comes across as very professional, and not harmful to a teams atmosphere or vibe.

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