by Margie McDonald | Wednesday, 19 December 2018
The NRL has de-registered Cronulla Sharks coach Shane Flanagan and Wests Tigers chief executive Justin Pascoe over separate breaches.
Cronulla are now on the hunt for a new coach while the Tigers will need a new CEO after the club was punished over an undisclosed agreement to pay Robbie Farah as an ambassador when he finishes his career.
The Flanagan decision stems from revelations that he had dealings with the club regarding the recruitment and retention of players while he was suspended in 2014 over the Sharks’ peptides scandal.
The conditions imposed by the NRL at the time stipulated that “the club must not allow Mr Flanagan to be concerned directly or indirectly with the club” while suspended.
The Sharks have also been fined $400,000, the amount that had been suspended from the $1 million fine handed down in 2014.
The Wests Tigers meanwhile have been fined $750,000 and the amount of Farah’s ambassador agreement – $639,000 – will be included in their 2019 salary cap.
There is no suggestion that Farah has done anything wrong but the NRL believes the club should have disclosed the agreement.
Both Cronulla and the Wests Tigers have until the end of January to respond to the findings.
There would be no “time limit” placed on how long Flanagan would have to stay away from the game before he could seek a return. There is likely to be a further determination on that when Flanagan and the Sharks respond to Wednesday’s breach notice in late January.
The option for coaching in the Super League is open to Flanagan as the English game is run under a different set of rules.
The NRL’s investigation did not find just “a handful” of emails but five pages of exchanges and communication with the Sharks. The Integrity Unit’s investigation showed the Sharks not only knew about his contact with the club, but participated in it.
The club’s CEO at the time Steve Noyce, the chairman Damien Keogh, and football manager Darren Mooney are no longer at Cronulla and are not currently working within the NRL. That is why Flanagan is copping the brunt of the flagrant disregard of the NRL’s original 2013 suspension notice. But current chairman Dino Messatesta was a member of the Sharks board in 2014.