Third-party deals with Brisbane players worth up to $500,000 are being investigated by the NRL after the Broncos reported concerns of a possible salary cap breach.
In an act that can be compared to that by New Zealand Warriors management in 2006, Brisbane officials advised the NRL the club may have breached salary cap rules by guaranteeing third-party deals for players.
It is understood the value of the third-party deals under investigation total $500,000 over three years.
However, Fairfax Media has been told that no money was paid to any Broncos player, suggesting the issue came to light after complaints by a player or players about a deal not being fulfilled.
Brisbane officials immediately reported their concerns to the NRL and are comfortable with the way the club has acted.
It is not thought likely at this stage that the Broncos face the loss of competition points, but the NRL is investigating the matter.
"The Brisbane Broncos have advised the NRL of some possible salary cap irregularities and asked us to look at them, which we will do," an NRL spokesperson said.
News of the investigation coincided with the resignation of long-serving Broncos football operations general manager Andrew Gee on Tuesday.
Gee, who was responsible for signing some of Brisbane's biggest stars, including Ben Barba, is understood to have been on leave for up to two weeks before his resignation.
The Broncos announced his departure in a statement and said that under 20s team manager Scott Czislowski would take over the role with the NRL side.
Former Parramatta recruitment manager Peter Nolan is returning to the club as list and recruitment manager.
“The Broncos acknowledge the significant contribution Andrew Gee has made in his current role and in his former roles as both a player and an administrator over a 25-year period,” the statement said. “The club wishes both him and his family all the best for the future.”
With the Broncos being a publicly listed company, chief executive Paul White and other officials at the News Corp controlled club have always insisted they could not be involved in any salary cap breach and Fairfax Media has been told they informed the NRL immediately after becoming aware of any possible breach.
The New Zealand Warriors also voluntarily came forward in 2006 after learning of salary cap breaches by previous management at the club.
The breaches totalled more than $1 million over the 2004 and 2005 seasons and the Warriors were fined $430,000 and docked four competition points for the 2006 season.
The most significant salary cap breaches involved Canterbury in 2002 and the Melbourne Storm in 2010.
The Bulldogs were stripped of all of their competition points after the Herald revealed rorts of about $2 million, while the Storm were forced to play for no premiership points and stripped of their 2007 and 2009 premierships for systematic salary cap breaches during the previous four seasons.