16 Jul 2016

Eels board facing axe

6:53 pm on 16 July 2016

Deputy New South Wales premier Troy Grant wants to sack the board of directors of the embattled National Rugby League club the Parramatta Eels.

Parramatta Eels players looking dismayed.

Parramatta Eels players looking dismayed. Photo: Photosport

Grant said the axe could fall on the embattled board within days and he would appoint a temporary administrator after the NRL club's plans to appeal some of the penalties for salary cap breaches.

He will use legislative powers under the liquor and gaming act.

The Parramatta Leagues club is under investigation by Liquor & Gaming NSW and the government believes it has enough evidence to remove the board.

Grant will have the power to move should he receive advice from the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority.

And he hopes to be able to act as early as Monday.

"Obviously the news is terrible out of Parramatta," Grant told Sydney radio station 2GB.

"If there's a call from the fans, the members, and the broader industry of registered clubs, then I will move onto it immediately, and as soon as that advice is at hand, make a determination and advise everyone."

Grant described the Parramatta board as selfish.

"You've got to put service above self in anything that you do in public administration or administration of a body that's on behalf of others. I'm not sure that's being done," he said.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg welcomed the move, saying via Twitter: "Lots of questions & concerns re Eels. We strongly support any government move to make the Parramatta Eels strong. Players and fans deserve it!"

The NRL has already banned chairman Steve Sharp, deputy chairman Tom Issa and director Peter Serraro as part of the club's sanctions.

The government is now seeking a fresh start in removing the remaining directors.

The Eels on Friday announced plans to fight some of the sanctions, including a Aus.$1 million fine and loss of 12 competition points.

It came as the club struck down three bids by separate groups to call an emergency general meeting to unseat the board.

Parramatta Leagues Club chief executive Bevan Paul said there were "legal problems" with the proposals for an EGM and voted them all down.

The Eels were found to have engaged in $3 million worth of systemic salary cap breaches since 2013 through the use of illegal third party deals, issuing false invoices and under-the-table player payments.