Parramatta face $11million shortfall

Parramatta Eels have revealed that a stressful 2016 has ended up with the club facing a shortfall of Aus$11million.

The season has been a torrid experience for the club, with the Eels facing crises involving player misdemeanours, boardroom squabbles and a salary cap scandal making things somewhat difficult.

Corey Norman hit the headlines with a drug possession case. Kieran Foran left the club after just eight months, having signed a huge four-year deal.

Anthony Watmough endured a season-ending injury, with Parra picking up the tab for his contract, after insurers deemed the injury as ‘pre-existing’.

Terminating player contracts has cost the club almost $1million this year, while $1.12 has been spent on fines and penalties.

The costs were announced in a letter sent from Parramatta Leagues Club chief executive Bevan Paul to the club’s members.

It outlined the $11 million shortfall included costs of: $1.12m fines and penalties; $1.24m consultants and legal advisers; $952k player terminations; $700k in lost sponsorship revenue; and $742k provision for sponsorship bad debt.

“Dear Members of Parramatta Leagues Club (PLC) and Parramatta Eels Fans,” Paul wrote in the letter.

“With the conclusion of the NRL season it is time to take stock of a tumultuous year for the company.

“The news that dominated the year was the salary cap and governance issues that ultimately led to the loss of twelve competition points and the removal of the board of directors by the Independent Liquor and Gaming Authority (ILGA).

“There is also an investigation currently being conducted by the NSW Fraud Squad into invoices to the Eels that were allegedly inflated.

“I would like to make clear that the intervention of the NSW Police is in relation to possible offenses committed against PLC members by individuals associated with the football club. This is an ongoing investigation and the club intends to keep members updated as much as possible.”

He also confirmed the leagues club would be forced to prop up the football club to the tune of $11 million.

The Parramatta Leagues Club has posted a profit of $4million.

“The impact on the club and members funds is unacceptable and unsustainable and urgent action was needed to mitigate these issues,” Paul’s letter continued.

“There is more work to do on the Eels and a premiership to pursue however the biggest bushfires are out or under control.

“I look forward to the commencement of incoming Eels CEO Bernie Gurr and all Eels members and fans can look forward to a better year in 2017 under his guidance.”

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