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Eels stars caught up in cap probe: report

NZN 5/04/2016

Parramatta skipper Kieran Foran has questioned why the club's management hasn't fronted up to face allegations of salary cap impropriety.

On a day when several current and former Eels' stars were dragged into the investigation about dubious third-party agreements, it was again left to players to face the media.

With Foran and forwards Danny Wicks and Daniel Alvaro all questioned by reporters on Wednesday about the ongoing saga, chief executive John Boulous or chairman Steve Sharp are yet to speak publicly.

All three players pleaded to having not read reports, which alleged players were offered beefed up third-party agreements and, when asked if the club's leadership should be facing questions, Foran said: "Maybe, but again, it's not a big issue for us - we know nothing about it. We don't know what's being said or going on."

Former Eels back Hopoate said he had no knowledge of salary cap cheating while he was at the club and indicated it was unlikely the players would have had any understanding of the matter.

"That's none of my business," he said.

"I play footy and allow my manager to deal with all the behind-the-scenes stuff.

"That's why they are there. They sort that out with the club. I don't know all the legal things that happen.

"We just pick the option that is presented in front of us and what suits us."

The NRL has uncovered documents from mid-2013 which include details of more than $140,000 in payments owed to Hopoate, Chris Sandow, Hopoate, Reni Maitua, Willie Tonga, Justin Hunt and Cheyse Blair, according to News Corp Australia.

Money owed to Norman, hooker Nathan Peats and departed English prop Lee Mossop, who all joined for the start of the 2014 campaign, was also detailed.

Under NRL rules, third-party agreements must be at arms length from the club, but the report claims documents state that, in some cases, the club made unregistered third-party payments.

There's no suggestion any of the players have done anything wrong.

Former Parramatta CEO Scott Seward has been called before the integrity unit and will be interviewed next week as the embattled club face the prospect of being docked competition points.

The Eels hit back on Wednesday morning, questioning the relevance of the reports.

"The current leadership at the Parramatta Eels remain concerned at the damage ongoing media speculation is doing to the integrity of the NRL's current salary cap investigation," a club statement said.

"The story seems to relate to allegations of internal discussions three years ago in 2013, under the tenure of previous administration."

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