Media Statement from the Parramatta Leagues Club Group

Parramatta Leagues Club (PLC) Group Chairman Steve Sharp has today confirmed that the Board and senior management team have discovered systematic and deliberate tampering of the Parramatta Leagues Club Membership database in April 2013, prior to the May 2013 Parramatta Leagues Club elections.

This was discovered as part of a forensic IT audit following recommendations from an independent review instigated by the new Board and undertaken by Russell Consulting Group in 2013. This same review uncovered several areas of concern, which the current Board has subsequently raised with the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing (OLGR) and is now part of an official investigation with which the Club and the new Board are fully co-operating.

The recent audit discovered records that had been intentionally backdated to 2010 in April 2013 that may have enabled ineligible Members to vote in the May 2013 election. Among other areas of concern, the investigation found a number of memberships which had been created using methods that bypassed normal procedure and therefore non-compliant with the constitution.

The examination into these matters is extensive and ongoing and there are currently a number of lines of enquiry. Most recently, PLC staff and Members have provided a number of additional pieces of information that will assist in the investigation.

At this stage, there is no evidence to suggest private Members' information has been compromised or extracted.

Steve Sharp said the Parramatta Leagues Club Group was committed to professional governance and would ensure its review of recent Club administration issues would be open and transparent, in order for the Club to move, as quickly as possible, out of the shadow of recent disappointing revelations so it could focus on restoring trust among its Membership base.

“When I was elected in May 2013, the new board instigated a review into the Club and that is now a part of an investigation by OLGR,” Mr Sharp said.

“The review also made a number of recommendations including a forensic investigation and audit of the Membership database of the three organisations within the Group.”

“While the overall Club audit is still ongoing, the discovery of deliberate and systematic tampering of information before the Leagues Club election in May 2013 is disturbing and must be investigated immediately.”

The Parramatta Leagues Club Group Board and senior management team will move forward, ensuring the Group is protected in the future by:

• Supporting the investigation being undertaken by relevant law enforcement authorities surrounding the 2013 Board elections;

• Making a strong commitment to constitutional reform to review what can be done to improve transparency and corporate governance;

• Appointing key advisers to the Parramatta Leagues Club Group to provide assistance on corporate governance and professional business standards;

• Ensuring all relevant information will continue to be passed on to the Office of Liquor, Gaming and Racing  (OLGR).

“While it’s a disappointing day for our Club and Members, this can also be the defining moment when we move into a new era of professionalism and exemplary governance to ensure the Club's future as a stable, transparent and successful sporting and Club organization,” Mr Sharp said.

The Parramatta Leagues Club Group will keep its Members updated as these investigations proceed.