NRL body seeks to invalidate NSWRL board

·2-min read

A court decision upholding board appointments by the NSW Rugby League Commission, despite finding it had wrongly excluded Cronulla's CEO from being director, has been challenged.

The Australian Rugby League Commission has filed an appeal of the NSW Supreme Court judgment, seeking to force the state body into reholding its board elections.

In May, Justice Michael Ball found that the NSWRL did not follow its processes and erred by excluding Cronulla CEO Dino Mezzatesta from becoming a director on February 25 this year.

While the ARLC stands by these findings, it is challenging the judge's decision that the board appointments were still valid despite the error.

"The trial judge erred in holding that the wrongful exclusion of Dino Mezzatesta ... did not have the result that the purported election of the appointed directors of the metropolitan members, and the subsequent appointment of the expert directors, was invalid," the ARLC wrote in documents filed with the NSW Court of Appeal in July.

Findings that the election results could only be invalid if challenged by someone like the Cronulla boss, who had standing to file such a lawsuit, have also been disputed in the appeal.

In February, Mezzatesta was excluded from the NSWRL's board because of an apparent conflict of interest created by payments he received as the CEO of the Cronulla-Sutherland club.

Justice Ball found the Cronulla boss was wrongly excluded from becoming a metropolitan director because any conflicts as CEO were the same as those he had through his directorship role at Cronulla.

In his decision, Justice Ball pointed out that two other directors Geoff Gerard and Nick Politis were validly elected and the state rugby body had a functioning board that seemed to be fulfilling its duties.

In its appeal, the ARLC has argued that the actions of any directors appointed in the election remain invalid.

It also claims that the NSWRL breached its services agreement due to its failure to obey the Australian body's directions and because of the alleged invalidity of the election.

The appeal will be heard on November 4.