• Perth Glory's season may be dramatically altered if the club is found guilty of salary cap breaches. (Getty) (Getty Images Asia Pacific)Source: Getty Images Asia Pacific
If the two salary cap scandals that David Gallop dealt with in his time as NRL Chief Executive are a guide, Perth Glory will not play finals if found guilty.
Greg Prichard

2 Apr 2015 - 10:06 AM  UPDATED 2 Apr 2015 - 11:54 AM

Perth Glory fans had better prepare for the possibility of their team's fairytale season ending in a nightmare, because there is surely no way Football Federation Australia (FFA) could allow the club to play in the finals if it can't prove it hasn't deliberately cheated by paying a star player outside of the salary cap.

That is not a declaration from above, it is just common sense. The management of the youngest major competition among the football codes in Australia could not risk a situation where a team could flout the rules like that and then win the A-League championship.

If that happened, football would be a laughing stock.

I was covering rugby league for major newspapers when the Canterbury club was caught cheating the NRL salary cap in 2002 and the Melbourne club, in 2010, was found out to have done the same.

The penalties for those clubs was enormous and included among them was the NRL ensuring that neither club could win the premiership that year.

The Bulldogs were the competition leader and premiership favourite when they were caught late in the regular season and were stripped of the 37 competition points they had collected to that point. That ensured they would miss the finals and finish last.

It was early in the season when the Storm were found out. They were stripped of the points they had already collected and forbidden from collecting any more points for the rest of the season, ensuring they finished last on zero.

FFA chief executive David Gallop was the NRL chief executive on those two occasions, so he doesn't come to the table without considerable experience in dealing with the sort of drama that now surrounds the Glory.

The experience I gained from covering stories like that taught me that you can tell a lot, for instance, from the way a media release is worded.

The release issued by FFA on Wednesday night was straight to the point. There were no ifs or buts about it.
It read:

"Football Federation Australia (FFA) today issued Perth Glory Football Club with a second Show Cause notice relating to alleged breaches of the Hyundai A-League's Player Contract Regulations ('salary cap').

"The second notice is in relation to the current season. The alleged breaches involve failure to disclose reportable payments and exceeding the salary cap. The "failure to disclose" breaches involve:

• Payments outside of the Standard Player Contract
• Payments to a player's family member
• Payments of player agents' fees
• Payment of a third party sponsorship
• Pre-payment to a player
• Payment of travel costs
• Accommodation allowances
• Provision of motor vehicles

"The value of the undisclosed payments and benefits involved in the alleged breaches would place Perth Glory significantly in excess of the allowable salary cap of $2.55m.

"The first Show Cause noticed issued on 12 February this year related to failure to disclose benefits to players relating to accommodation costs, provision of motor vehicles and the payment of agents' fees for the 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 Hyundai A-League seasons.

"Since issuing the first Show Cause notice, FFA has continued to investigate the club's Total Player Payments. The investigation has included interviews with Perth Glory players and staff, retrieval of information from club files and forensic examination by external specialists of club records including financial accounts.

"Perth Glory has until 5pm on Wednesday 8 April to respond to the Show Cause notice."

That reads to me like FFA believes it is on solid ground.

The Sydney Morning Herald has reported today that the main element of the alleged cap breach revolves around the payment of a large slice of Irish striker Andy Keogh's salary ($150,000 is the figure mentioned) to him outside of the salary cap by a third party, via a family member.

Glory owner Tony Sage is quoted in an article on The World Game website today saying the cap breach allegations have "nothing to do with Andy Keogh" and that they focused on "travel, accommodation and matters like that".

Sage's response to the second show cause notice
Sage vows to axe Glory CEO if new salary cap allegations are upheld
Perth Glory owner Tony Sage has pledged to sack CEO Jason Brewer if new allegations of salary cap breaches are proven after Football Federation Australia (FFA) served the club with a second show-cause notice on Wednesday night.

But at the top of the list in the media release from FFA it refers to "Payments outside of the Standard Player Contract" and "Payments to a player's family member".

My understanding is the SMH is spot-on in saying there is a focus on payments to Keogh.

FFA gave Perth a week - until 5pm on Wednesday, 8 April - to show cause why it should not be penalised over the allegations.

FFA is clearly looking to bring this matter to a head as soon as possible, presumably so that if Glory is found guilty it can take whatever action it believes it should take ahead of the finals starting.

Glory led the competition for most of the season and remains in the thick of the race for the Premier's Plate. It is in fourth place, just one point from the lead.

If Glory can show it hasn't breached the cap, then fair enough, and whatever it goes on to achieve this season it will have deserved.

But if it is found guilty of the most serious allegation, about paying a star player outside the cap, how could FFA risk it winning the championship? It couldn't - simple as that.