Cronulla Coach Shane Flanagan Deregistered, Club Fined $800k
Embattled Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan has been deregistered and his club fined $800,000, NRL boss Todd Greenberg announced today.
Flanagan, a 53-year-old former NRL player, was appointed head coach at the Sharks in 2010 and steered the club to its one and only NRL premiership in 2016.
In late 2013, Flanagan was suspended as head coach for 12 months after a lengthy investigation into the Sharks' 2011 supplements program.
During that period he was banned from any contact with Sharks players, staff or officials.
But earlier this month -- as the NRL investigated salary cap irregularities at the Sharks -- it emerged Flanagan had made contact with club officials during that time, mostly via email.
It is for this indiscretion that the NRL has punished the club to the tune of $800,000 in total.
The first $400,000 is the amount that had been suspended from the $1 million fine in 2014, while the second $400,000 is an additional fine for the breach.
"The conditions applied to Mr Flanagan were crystal clear," Greenberg said on Wednesday.
"Shane and the club appear to have ignored those conditions."
"In 2014, the NRL fined the Sharks $1 million with $400,00 suspended in relation to the supplements administered at the club.
"Part of the conditions [of the suspended fine] were that Mr Flanagan was not allowed to be concerned directly or indirectly with the club while suspended. That message was reinforced many times."
"He was closely and constantly involved with the club while suspended."
The NRL has also come down hard upon the Wests Tigers for an undisclosed third-party arrangement involving Robbie Farah, fining the club $750,000 as well as an additional salary cap fine of $639,000 -- the amount of Farah's deal.
"We have obtained documents which show that the club entered an agreement to pay Robbie Farah to act as an ambassador at the club when he retires from playing," Greenberg said.
"This agreement was signed in 2016, at the same time Robbie left the club to join the Rabbitohs.
"The game's rules are very, very clear on these arrangements.
"Any commitment to make such a payment should have been disclosed and should have been included in the salary cap. The club failed to do this.
"The club then compounded its conduct by submitting a misleading application to the NRL in relation to the salary cap treatment of money paid to Robbie when he left the club."
Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe has also been deregistered. Meanwhile the Tigers have announced that they will defend themselves "vigorously".
Cronulla CEO Barry Russell said that "as CEO, we have to accept responsibility that there are consequences if you break the rules". But he also said the club would appeal the fine, which he called "a substantial amount".
Both clubs have until the end of January 2019 to appeal.