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As Ian Schubert steps down, NRL shifts salary cap responsibility to integrity unit

Resigned: NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert has announced he will step down from the role.

Resigned: NRL salary cap auditor Ian Schubert has announced he will step down from the role. Photo: Simon Alekna

The end of an era ushers in the dawn of a new one. After long-time salary-cap auditor Ian Schubert steps down, the NRL's integrity unit will oversee the policing of the cap next year and into the future.

An appeals panel is also in place for next season.

The ongoing salary-cap review, likely to be finalised by the ARL Commission in March, is also set to recommend the controversial second-tier cap, a thorn in Schubert's side in the last of his 15 years in the role, be increased for next season.

Schubert's departure marks a significant step in the evolution of the salary cap, as well as the review. One man will no longer be judge, jury and executioner when it comes to the salary cap.

While Jamie L'Oste Brown will be the new cap auditor, the department will come under the umbrella of the integrity unit, through its general manager of integrity and general counsel, Nick Weeks, as well as chief operating officer Jim Doyle.

NRL clubs are likely to welcome the implementation of an appeals process, which they have never before enjoyed.

''There will be day-to-day decisions that will need to be made by Jamie and his team,'' Doyle said. ''But there will be a proper process in regards to appeals.''

The review followed controversy over the NRL's perceived outdated second-tier salary-cap system last season. Schubert had also come under fire when former NRL star Israel Folau opted to sign with rugby union instead of Parramatta.

Clubs have long been critical of the fact that one individual, Schubert, has had control over the salary cap. That will change from next season; L'Oste Brown will make the day-to-day decisions but the integrity unit will oversee cap management.

''As you can imagine, the integrity of the game is a big part of the salary cap,'' Doyle said. ''We got it [the unit] up and running first and foremost from a drugs and ASADA perspective, but then it's evolved to look after player behaviour. But part of the thinking was always to put the salary cap under there as well.

''It makes sense. Apart from the issue we've had recently with ASADA, the biggest issues we have had, that tarnish the brand, apart from player behaviour, is salary-cap rorts. We've been talking about it for a little while, that, at the right time, it would make sense for it to be part of the integrity unit.''

Schubert, who played 272 first-grade games for Eastern Suburbs, Wests and Manly, has been the salary-cap auditor during the entire course of the NRL competition.

While NRL officials lauded the fact that nine different premiers have been crowned since 1998, club officials have been regularly frustrated by his power.

While more significant changes to the salary cap will come into effect in 2015, officials are still considering raising the second-tier ceiling in time for next year.

Schubert faced significant scrutiny last season over the second-tier salary cap after the Penrith Panthers were forced to drop fullback Matt Moylan.

''That's the one we're thinking more around in regards to an earlier introduction,'' Doyle said.

Following several focus- group discussions involving stakeholders in the game, including players, supporters, player managers and the media, officials will now schedule separate sessions on various parts of the review that still have merit for the new year. Officials will discuss the prospective changes with the chief executives of the clubs in February before they are officially approved by the ARL Commission in March.

19 comments so far

  • A bit of a dodgéy fullback for seats but an excellent administrator who helped ensured a level playing field
    Diligent and fair

    Time warp
    Date and time
    December 19, 2013, 4:22AM
    • A milkman that became an auditor of a large sporting organisation. No wonder the salary cap never worked properly

      Date and time
      December 19, 2013, 5:39AM
      • You can bet your bottom dollar that Schubert will not be receiving Xmas cards from any of the 16 NRL teams........
        particularly the ones that he found had breached their caps, significantly over the years..........Melbourne,...Cronulla...Broncos,...Manly...,Souths...Bulldogs....,Cowboys..Titans

        Karma gets you in the end

        Forensic Accountant
        The big end of Town
        Date and time
        December 19, 2013, 7:39AM
        • It,s not the clubs that got caught that have anything to really worry about except for Bulldogs and Storm, it's the clubs that DIDN'T get caught that we should all be concerned about

          sunny coast Qld
          Date and time
          December 19, 2013, 1:56PM
        • Just when did the Broncos "significantly "go over the cap.

          Date and time
          December 21, 2013, 6:57PM
      • Nothing will change. Schubert's long-term assistant takes over. The same influential clubs will still get favoured treatment and the poor clubs will still be hammered. This salary cap team completely missed the Bulldogs rorts, it was the Herald which uncovered them, and the Storm were only caught by an accident. And no-one at the NRL has been able to explain how the Roosters this year bought in over $2.5m of new playing talent, cut only Anasta and a couple of 2nd graders, yet were deemed to be under the salary cap!! This year's "premiers" were about a million over the cap and not a thing was done. "Integrity Unit"? Ha ha ha.

        Date and time
        December 19, 2013, 7:39AM
        • 2nd tier cap has NOTHING to do with the real reason Schubert has 'left'.

          Certain NRL 'power brokers' were not happy with a discovery concerning the actual salary of the 2013 premiers. The feeling was enough damage had been done to the NRL brand this year with the ASADA stuff and any further bad press, especially MORE salary cap rorting would have been too much to overcome.

          There is MUCH more to this story, but the odds of it ever coming to light are pretty slim.

          Date and time
          December 19, 2013, 8:24AM
        • hargraves,
          Let me guess you are a bitter Manly or a Souffs supporter?
          "Cut Anasta and a couple of 2nd graders?" Get your facts right. Here are some of the so called 2nd graders that the Roosters cut.
          Takarangi, Leilua, Linnet, Masoe, Justin Carney, Ben Jones, Cherrington, Anasta, Willie Mason, Myles, Symonds, Anthony Mitchell.
          The Roosters were also well under the salary cap for 2012 due to ditching Todd Carney and a few others.
          And bought Maloney, SBW and Jennings.
          Not sure where you get the $2.5 million from as Penrith are paying some of Jennings contract. Would be much closer to 1.5 than 2.5

          The Kelbinator
          Date and time
          December 19, 2013, 8:30AM
        • @ hargraves.
          Where is the evidence for your unsubstantiated claims?

          the Roosters this year unloaded more than a couple of 2nd graders...
          .Leilua...went to the Knights and became their top centre....
          Takarangi..went to .the Titansand became their best centre......
          .Mossie Masoe...went to the the Panthersand became their best interchange forward.........Cherrington.....a second rower on big dollars went to Penrith......
          .Tom Symonds....went to Manly and played in their top side

          Never let the facts get in the way when throwing a bucket of mud....
          plus The Roosters were able to back end contracts to balance the salary cap effectively.

          Nothin worse than false accusations from supporters of teams that performed poorly...

          Fair and Balanced
          The Cumberland State Forest
          Date and time
          December 19, 2013, 8:33AM
        • Its the system that needs fixing not the the administration ! Rearranging deck chairs simply wont work. We need a salary cap that's easy for everybody to see whats going on - some sort of numbering system. Then even people like Hargreaves will be happy - maybe i'm expecting to much there.

          Date and time
          December 19, 2013, 12:01PM

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