Eels legend Ray Price among members to endorse vote of no confidence in Parramatta board
The Parramatta board has been served a vote of no confidence in a letter endorsed by two club legends which accuses it of ‘failing its supporters, members and players’.
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Parramatta legend Ray Price and grand final-winning prop Terry Leabeater have endorsed an explosive letter which includes a vote of no confidence in the current administration and board.
The letter, which was formally sent to Eels chairman Sean McElduff this week, has also been supported by former sponsors, members, junior league officials and business owners.
McElduff fired back on Tuesday, strongly disputing the letter’s contents.
Described as a “letter of demand” and compiled by several perpetual members, including former sponsor Andrew Eagleston, the five-page document is strongly-worded over multiple issues inside the club.
It details an “unacceptable and ongoing situation relating to the PNRL operations, and the results delivered by the organisation. This letter serves as a vote of no confidence for the chairman and selected members of the PNRL Board.”
“The Parramatta board and management are failing its supporters, members and players and this trend will continue unless significant changes are made to the structure of the board and management,” it continued.
The letter claims Parramatta’s Junior Rugby League has been “neglected” and questions the Eels’ recruitment and retention policy while identifying the junior players who have excelled after leaving the club.
Never one to back down from a fight, Price spoke passionately about the letter on Tuesday, while expressing disappointment additional former Eels players had elected against signing the letter for fear of repercussions.
Speaking with News Corp, Price said: “These blokes (the administration and board) are ******* with the whole club.
“They’ve all got to be sacked. They haven’t got a clue. When they get a good person there, they do their darnedest to get rid of them. The part I can’t understand is why we have so many of our juniors playing for other clubs.
“And I’m really dirty I haven’t got the support of my fellow players. Some said they didn’t want to get involved. You can’t do anything or succeed in anything if you don’t get involved. We can’t fix the club if we don’t all get together.”
Eagleston claims he has the support of hundreds of members.
The letter reads in part: “The club has people in positions that are not delivering results for its members, nor are they able to deliver strategic and targeted solutions, this has resulted in a distinct lack of structured leadership within the organisation.
“The culture within Parramatta does not encourage nor welcome open communication with its members. The shortfall of rugby league knowledge on the PNRL board is reflected throughout the organisation, the members would like a concise and unfiltered financial summary of where Parramatta are positioned financially.
“The current board and management structure is disrupting the growth of the organisation and undermining the performance of the team.
“There needs to be a significant increase in suitably skilled Parramatta people involved in the Parramatta Eels. The chairman of the PNRL is a self-admitted soccer fan and a staunch St George Dragons supporter.
“The identification of talent within the district is a major issue. The club is ignoring its junior talent and is making no effort to stop the exile of many talented juniors to other rival clubs.”
McElduff questioned the letter’s accuracy and sought to dispel much of its contents.
“From 2010 to 2016, we never made the finals once. We got busted for cheating the salary cap five times. We (the board) have been in for five years and made the finals four times. We lost $12m in 2016 and over $30m in the previous six years. In 2016, the club lost $12m. Last year, the club made a profit and this year the club will make profit,” he said.
“We had four juniors make their NRL debut this year – that’s the largest number of debutants that Parramatta have had in more than 10 years. Last year, we had two. We were number one in terms of membership in the NRL this year. This year, the NRL gave a women’s licence.”
“We have established a new facility at Kellyville where we have a 20-year lease, five playing fields, new office and training facilities and we have a plan and funding in place to construct a new Centre of Excellence and a community centre, which is going to cost us $60m. If we were a bunch of misfits, we wouldn’t have been able to arrange that.”