Leeds Rhinos fined for salary cap breaches

Leeds Rhinos have accepted a £20,000 fine - of which half is suspended - for salary cap breaches in the 2018 Super League season.

Super League giants Leeds Rhinos have been fined for salary cap breaches in 2018, the Rugby Football League (RFL) have announced.

Leeds have been fined £20,000 for the breaches, although half of that sum will remain suspended for two years.

"It was established during a routine RFL audit that Leeds had failed to declare payments to three players," an RFL statement said.

"The total amount of the breach was £55,000, with the club found to have exceeded the finite salary cap at four separate points during the season by sums ranging from £10,500 to £25,500. 

"Leeds Rhinos acknowledged these errors and reached an 'Agreed Decision' with the RFL in accordance with RFL processes, thereby removing the need for an Independent Tribunal."

Leeds Rhinos CEO Gary Hetherington said the breaches were due to "an administrative error".

"This was an administrative error on our part for which I take responsibility and we are obviously disappointed to lose our 23-year unblemished salary cap compliance record," Hetherington said.

"We had no idea we had exceeded the 'live' cap at the time and with hindsight we could have averted the breach by loaning out a player to another club.

"Two of the players, Jack Walker and Luke Briscoe, were promoted from part time to full time status during the season and whilst their increased monthly payments were included in our salary cap return to the RFL, we didn't lodge their new contracts until the end of the season. 

"Matt Parcell also had his contract extended at the start of the season and whilst the increased monthly payments were paid the contract wasn't signed and lodged with the RFL until the end of the season and those combined breaches created the breach we now accept.

"Managing a Super League club salary cap is, and has always been, a very precise operation and we have now revised some of our internal procedures to ensure we don’t make the same mistake again."

Leeds are the most successful Super League club, having won eight titles since the competition's 1996 inception.

The Rhinos finished ninth in the 2018 season, missing the play-offs.