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Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 11:07 GMT 12:07 UK
Bulldogs admit defeat
Bulldogs players have been left shell-shocked by their punishment
The Bulldogs have been demoted from first to last
Canterbury Bulldogs will not continue appealling against their expulsion from the National Rugby League (NRL) play-offs for breaching the competition's salary cap.

Australia's leading team were fined A$500,000 (178,000) and demoted from first place to last in the championship standings for secretly overpaying their players.

They made a submission to the NRL on Monday to have the penalty reduced to allow them to compete in this month's finals series but were rebuffed.

The Bulldogs had the right to appeal again but chief executive Steve Mortimer said on Tuesday that the club had decided to accept their punishment.


We have to consider the massive and damaging evidence against the Bulldogs
Steve Mortimer
Bulldogs chief executive

"It was obvious that even if we were to give ourselves an outside shot at success it would involve a very long and protracted process," Mortimer said.

"That would involve lawyers and courts deciding the issue."

And he added: "We also have to consider the massive and damaging evidence against the Bulldogs.

"The NRL has a very strong opinion about this and it was very clear that this evidence would always outweigh any emotional argument we might be able to mount."

Canterbury were five points clear in the standings with just three rounds to go when a Sydney newspaper exposed them for flouting the salary cap.

Chief executive Bob Hagan resigned after admitting to breaches of A$1m (355,000) over the past two years.

The NRL decided not to expel the Bulldogs from the 15-team league.

But they docked the Sydney club 37 of their 41 points and fined them A$500,000, still one of the stiffest punishments in Australian sporting history.

NRL chief executive David Gallop said after Monday's hearing: "The Bulldogs' breaching of the rules clearly allowed them to retain and indeed to purchase players in a way that their rivals were not.

"It is impossible to determine the extent of this advantage for the Bulldogs and equally impossible to undo the effect of the advantage at this time of the year."

See also:

28 Aug 02 | Rugby League
19 Aug 02 | Rugby League
17 Aug 02 | Rugby League
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