Melbourne Storm has this afternoon issued the following media statement through media manager Dave Donaghy:
â€œMelbourne Storm has today accepted the findings and outcomes of an NRL investigation in to the clubâ€™s salary cap accounts,â€ Melbourne Storm Chairman, Dr Rob Moodie, said.
â€œThe rules are very clear and some former members of management have wrongly decided to break them.
â€œOn behalf of the Melbourne Storm I would like to sincerely apologise to our players, our staff, our sponsors, our members and our supporters, and we will continue to assist the NRL with their investigation.
â€œThe Melbourne Storm Board became aware of these possible salary cap indiscretions on April 13 this year.
â€œAt that point the Board initiated its own full investigation into any possible salary cap indiscretions.
â€œToday is a most unbelievable blow and this is the lowest day in the clubâ€™s history.
â€œMelbourne Storm is a resilient club and this is a great challenge, a challenge that as a board we werenâ€™t aware of, but now are.
â€œWe will absolutely endeavour to return this club back to the great heights where it deserves to be.
â€œMelbourne Storm is full of people with great character who will not turn their back on this next great challenge.
â€œWe will repay our fans. The biggest sufferer here is our support base. They have not had any role in what has been uncovered here.
â€œFor that we are absolutely sorry.
â€œAll we can ask of them is to remain resolute and loyal to the Melbourne Storm and we make the commitment that we will never ask them to ever experience anything like this in the future.â€
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy said: â€œThis is an absolute shock to myself, to our football staff, to our players.
â€œPersonally I am heartbroken.
â€œBut this football club has great character and values. We will not walk away from this challenge.
â€œWe will stick tight together as a group and fight our way back from this.â€