Eels want to break salary cap to sign Folau

JAMES MACSMITH
Last updated 13:16 26/11/2012
Israel Folau
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BIG ASKING PRICE: The Parramatta Eels want to breach the NRL salary cap in order to sign Israel Folau.

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Parramatta boss Ken Edwards says the complicated nature of Israel Folau's contract negotiations has forced them to ask the ARL Commission for permission to break the NRL salary cap.

On Monday, Edwards confirmed the Eels have put forward a radical proposal to the ARLC to allow them to spend $400,000 over the $5 million cap in 2013 in order to accommodate Folau.

"It is an extremely complicated situation," Edwards said.

"Both the ARLC, the NRL and Parramatta have all worked very hard to come to a resolution on the matter.

"(But) it is becoming frustrating. We need to know as a club where we are so we can move forward and so does Israel Folau."

Edwards reportedly met with ARLC Chairman John Grant on Friday to discuss the proposal which would average the club's expenditure on players out over the 2013 and 2014 seasons.

Under the proposal, the Eels would have a salary cap of $5.4 million next season and then one of $4.6 million the season after.

It is an idea unlikely to be greeted empathetically by other NRL clubs, especially given the governing body's hard line stance on salary-cap cheating - including stripping Melbourne of their 2007 and 2009 premiership titles and shattering the Bulldogs' campaign in 2002.

Folau quit his lucrative AFL contract with Greater Western Sydney on November 1 and since then the ARLC and the Eels have been at loggerheads over the former international.

The Eels wanted to register Folau on a contract worth $150,000 a season - a move rejected by salary cap auditor Ian Schubert.

"We have been open and transparent from the start," Edwards said.

"We haven't tried to keep anything (hidden)."

Parramatta are waiting on a response from the NRL in regard to the proposal.

The news came on a day Parramatta announced a new five-year deal with Venues NSW over the use of Parramatta

Stadium as the club moved to allay fears from fans they could abandon their home since 1986 - the year of their most recent premiership win.

The deal is to use Parramatta Stadium as their main home ground for three years with a two-year option.

Under the 2013 NRL draw released on Friday, the Eels will play eight home games at Parramatta Stadium, with three to be played at ANZ Stadium and one taken to Mudgee in regional NSW.

"Parramatta Stadium is a big part of the club's history and the players love playing here," Edwards said.

"This is the club's spiritual home ground and we want to build on the rock solid cauldron type atmosphere." 

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