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Rabbitohs statement regarding NRL breach notice and fine

The South Sydney Rabbitohs acknowledge receipt of a breach notice from the NRL for breaching its rules pertaining to the lack of a prompt reporting to the NRL Integrity and Compliance Unit, an allegation from a member of the public immediately upon becoming aware it could have been reasonably suspected to be a potential breach of the NRL Rules. 

The Rabbitohs responded to the breach notice at the time and now accepts the fine that has been imposed.

The Rabbitohs wish to reiterate that there is no place in our society for violence, harassment or abuse against women. The Club also takes issues of drug use very seriously and has established policies and procedures in place around the use of drugs. The Club works closely with the playing group to support their wellbeing and educate them about drug use, and also works closely with Sport Integrity Australia and the NRL who administer testing of the players.

The Rabbitohs now consider this matter to be closed and will be making no further comment at this time.

 

Earlier the NRL released this statement...

 

The National Rugby League (NRL) today fined South Sydney Rabbitohs official Sam Burgess $30,000 and suspended him for 12 weeks as an official for multiple breaches of NRL Rules during his time as a player and official with the Club.

Today’s action follows an extensive investigation by the NRL into allegations that Burgess and the Rabbitohs had breached the Game’s Code of Conduct.

Burgess breached the NRL’s rules by taking illicit drugs in 2018, threatening another rugby league player in 2018 and breaching NSW law in February 2021 by driving a motor vehicle with traces of an illicit drug in his system.

The NRL’s investigation follows the conclusion of NSW Police Strike Force Irrabella in late 2021. Like Strike Force Irrabella, the NRL did not find the available evidence was sufficient to support allegations that Burgess had engaged in domestic violence. A number of allegations concerning Burgess’ personal relationships did not relate to the NRL’s rules.

Burgess, who stood himself down from Club duties in October 2020, will be permitted to count his stand down as time served and will therefore be entitled to resume his duties, should he so desire.

The South Sydney Rabbitohs have been fined $20,000 for failing to promptly advise the NRL Integrity Unit of an allegation made against Burgess.

The NRL has also concluded that the available evidence did not support a finding that there was a cover-up by the Club of the use by Burgess of illicit drugs, prescription drugs or that it engaged in a practice of covering up allegations of domestic violence. In particular, the investigation found that the treatment the Club Doctor provided Burgess in his home following a medical incident, was given in the doctor’s private capacity - not in his role as Club Doctor. Consistent with the doctor’s obligation of patient confidentiality, the Club was not informed of the medical incident or the treatment provided.

The investigation did find that on one occasion the South Sydney Rabbitohs breached NRL Rules in not reporting an allegation against Burgess from a member of the public to the NRL Integrity Unit.

The NRL notes the Rabbitohs have made improvements to policy and procedures to ensure any future allegations are reported to the NRL Integrity Unit. Following consideration of the Club’s response and co-operation, the NRL has fined the Club $20,000 for its breach of the NRL Rules.

The NRL is continuing to offer support to those connected with the investigation. The NRL thanks all witnesses who participated in the investigation.

Acknowledgement of Country

South Sydney Rabbitohs respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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