The chief executive of new Super rugby union franchise Melbourne Rebels has resigned after being accused of orchestrating systematic salary cap breaches that brought National Rugby League (NRL) club Melbourne Storm to its knees. Brian Waldron, who joined the Rebels earlier this year after being employed as chief executive of Storm from 2004-2009, was labelled by his former employers as the "architect" of illegal player payments that helped the Storm win two premiership titles in the past three years.
The Storm had their 2007 and 2009 titles revoked on Thursday, were fined Aus$1.7million (Dh5.7m) and will not be allowed to accrue any points in the 2010 season. The Rebels, set to join the expanded Super 15 competition in 2011, had accepted Waldron's resignation, Harold Mitchell, their chairman, said. "I don't know whether he is the absolute centre of [the scandal], that'll be for others to judge," he said. "I just didn't want this to be a distraction in any way to what we're doing. Quite frankly I've told him to make himself scarce for a while."
The Storm were found to have committed deliberate salary cap breaches over a five-year period and had gone to "extraordinary" lengths to cover it up. Meanwhile in yesterday's NRL action, Canterbury Bulldogs got the better of Brisbane Broncos 36-18, while the Parramatta Eels won 24-18 at the North Queensland Cowboys. Changing codes to Super 14 action, the Queensland Reds maintained their push for the play-offs with another tenacious victory over South African title challengers Western Stormers.
The Reds moved to third in the standings midway through the 10th round after a gritty 16-13 win, while Western Force came from being 13-0 down at half-time to beat the Canterbury Crusaders 24-16 * Compiled by Graham Caygill, with agencies