24 Apr 2010

Storm cop huge hit for salary cap breaches

6:45 am on 24 April 2010

Ramifications of possibly Australia's biggest sporting scandal are likely to be felt for some time.

The National Rugby League has stripped the Melbourne Storm of two premiership titles and all of their competition points for the 2010 season after they were found to have committed salary cap breaches over a period of five years.

Melbourne have had their 2007 and 2009 titles taken away, fined half a million dollars and will be forced to return more than a million dollars in prize money after committing breaches of almost $2 million - and they will not be allowed to accumulate any more Premiership points this season.

Two of the club's senior management personnel have been stood down.

The Storm, who compete with football and Australian rules in Melbourne's crowded sports market, are likely to lose sponsorship deals and now have nothing to play for in the remainder of the season.

The scandal may also have an impact on the new Super Rugby franchise Melbourne Rebels, whose CEO Brian Waldron was the Storm CEO from 2004-2009.

Questions will now be asked about whether the losing Grand Finalists will get the titles, while the Victorian Police are likely to get involved in a fraud inquiry.