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His Honour Justice Michael Ball has today handed down his judgment in the Supreme Court of NSW. Specifically and importantly, the Court has ordered that New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) is entitled to a declaration in its favour, that NSWRL is not in breach of the Services Agreement between it and Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC), as alleged by ARLC.

His Honour reached the view that Dino Mezzatesta should have been allowed to stand for election to the NSWRL Board, but rejected the ARLC’s contention that the decision to exclude him from the election invalidated the election of other directors. His Honour said in his written judgment: “The question was raised with the board whether Mr Mezzatesta was eligible to stand for election. The question having been raised, the Board quite properly sought legal advice on it. The Board acted on that advice. There is no suggestion that the advice was not sought or given in good faith. The Board properly concluded that no election was necessary in circumstances where only two candidates remained. No challenge has been made to any of the persons who currently act as directors of NSWRL by any person with standing to do so.”

Acting NSWRL Board Chairman John Anderson OAM said: “Whilst it is a matter of regret for us that we were forced to go to Court to resolve the issue, we are pleased that the Court has decided the matter in our favour, and agreed with the NSWRL’s submissions that we have not breached the agreement relating to our State of Origin obligations. We were left with no other option but to approach the Court when such an important component of our existence was under direct threat, and where the ARLC refused to withdraw its notice asserting that the ARLC would terminate the agreement unless the NSWRL took a series of specified steps.

“We can now continue our State of Origin preparations in earnest without the threat of removal from the contest hanging over our heads.

“We hope that we will now be able to put this behind us and work together with all stakeholders for the benefit of Rugby League in NSW. The Board will now move to fill the casual vacancy which presently exists for a Metropolitan director and will thereafter commence a process to appoint a Chair.

“In the interests of moving forward together our Board seeks to meet with the full Board of the ARLC as soon as it can be arranged.”

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours 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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