Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington takes full responsibility for salary cap breach

Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.
Leeds Rhinos chief executive Gary Hetherington.
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LEEDS RHINOS chief executive Gary Hetherington has taken full responsibility for the club’s salary cap breach – and says measures are now in place to ensure the same “mistake” doesn’t happen again.

The Rugby Football League [RFL] revealed today that the West Yorkshire club overspent by £55,000 in 2018.

However, Leeds – who are first-time offenders – have not suffered a points deduction.

Instead, they have been fined £20,000 and half of that is suspended.

Hetherington said: “This was an administrative error on our part for which I take responsibility and we are obviously disappointed to lose our 23-year unblemished salary cap compliance record.

“We had no idea we had exceeded the ‘live’ cap at the time and with hindsight we could have averted the breach by loaning out a player to another club.

“Two of the players, Jack Walker and Luke Briscoe, were promoted from part-time to full-time status during the season and, whilst their increased monthly payments were included in our salary cap return to the RFL, we didn’t lodge their new contracts until the end of the season.

“Matt Parcell also had his contract extended at the start of the season and, whilst the increased monthly payments were paid, the contract wasn’t signed and lodged with the RFL until the end of the season and those combined breaches created the breach we now accept. Managing a Super League club salary cap is, and has always been, a very precise operation and we have now revised some of our internal procedures to ensure we don’t make the same mistake again.”

Super League clubs were limited to a salary cap of £1.9m in 2018 and £2m this year.

The RFL statement read: “Leeds Rhinos have been fined £20,000, with £10,000 of this suspended, in relation to admitted salary cap breaches during the 2018 season.

“It was established during a routine RFL audit that Leeds had failed to declare payments to three players.

“The total amount of the breach was £55,000, with the club found to have exceeded the finite salary cap at four separate points during the season by sums ranging from £10,500 to £25,500.

“Leeds Rhinos acknowledged these errors and reached an ‘Agreed Decision’ with the RFL in accordance with RFL processes, thereby removing the need for an Independent Tribunal.”

Wigan Warriors were the last club to be found breaching the cap when they were docked two points in January.

It was related to six separate payments totalling £14,700 in 2017.

However, they won an appeal – heard by a panel appointed by Sports Resolutions – to have the points reinstated in March.