Castleford and Wakefield were first time offenders and to some extent you can feel some sympathy towards them. Neither side have an income of the £3.6 million required to enable them to spend the maximum, so they are always going to be trying to estimate their income to determine what they can spend 50% of. You can understand them getting it a little wrong and I understand that it was a few thousand in each case, triggering an official reprimand and a bill for costs. Both clubs will need to be more cautious on the future.|
Saints and Hull FC, on the other hand, will both be in the situation of knowing that they have £1.8 million to spend and have little excuse for breaching the cap. Both teams have done this before, and both were hit with a points deduction back in 2003 for a breach in 2002. These are repeat offenders and they have got away with a fine this year due to the small nature of the breach.
Many supporters of the six sides not implicated in the breaches will be wondering how these two sides, repeat offenders, can get away with small fines and a slap on the hand. Surely the reprimands that they got three years ago would have carried a warning about the implications of breaching again. In the year where the offences were committed, and the advantage gained, both of these sides picked up silverware. Hull FC beat us by a point in the Challenge Cup Final, and Saints took the Minor Premiership from us (by 3 points), relegating us to second place in the table. Cheats have prospered and been seen to get away with little or no punishment.
Major breachers of the cap would appear to be Wigan and Bradford, although Bradford have not yet attended a hearing.
Wigan blame a series of injuries and the need to recruit players as a reason for their £80,000 overspend, but with Wigan earning in excess of £3.6 million they always knew that they had to spend no more than £1.8 million on players salaries. You have to wonder if their accountant is related to Ken Dodd, Nick Leeson or Lester Piggott. If Wigan carelessly overspent by such an amount in 2005, I bet that the auditors can't wait to get their hands on Wigans 2006 books!
The breach by Bradford seems to be the most alarming of the six, although we won't know the magnitude of it until after the hearing which has not yet been scheduled. With the 'small' four having just received a fine without a hearing, you have to assume that Bradford are in the same boat as Wigan, if not worse. What does look certain is that the reigning Superleague Champions have seriously breached the cap and cheated their way to last seasons title, all the more damning when you remember that they took Adrian Morley on a short-term lucrative contract to be instrumental in their push for Old Trafford and eventual victory. Caisley knew when to get out!
So why does that make Mr Hetherington and Mr Caddick dunces?
Three compeitions in 2005, and three competitions in which we came second to cheats who ignored the rules which we observed to gain their victories at our expense. Others have been filling their trophy cabinets with sides funded beyond the legal limits of rules which have been written down, understood, and in operation for many seasons.
Rather than follow the rules, keeping salaries and bonuses within limits and releasing players to ensure that we get under the cap, the Rhinos administration should have carried on regardless and breached the rules as blatantly as Wigan and Bradford. At least then we'd have been 'on the same playing field' and have given ourselves a chance of winning the trophies that the fans crave.
Once again the cheats prosper and the honest clubs lose out.
For the avoidance of doubt.|
Definitions of Irony
A misleading use of words to present one thing to the reader, but actually representing the opposite.
Refers to the use of words to convey the opposite of their literal meaning.
Irony is a form of speech in which the real meaning is concealed or contradicted by the words used. Irony involves the perception that things are not what they are said to be or what they seem.
Perhaps I'm being a little too subtle for some people!