NRL Side Parramatta Eels Members Reject Reforms Proposed By Max Donnelly
National Rugby League side Parramatta's "attempts to distance itself from the bitter boardroom politics of the past failed spectacularly on Wednesday night" when club Chair Max Donnelly's constitutional reforms "were voted down by members," according to the Sydney DAILY TELEGRAPH. At an extraordinary general meeting held at Rosehill racecourse, Donnelly "failed to pass strict new eligibility requirements" to become a director of parent company Parramatta Leagues Club, "namely excluding anyone who was an Eels board member before July 16 last year." It was a "clear sign" former Eels CEO Denis Fitzgerald and former Chair Roy Spagnolo "still wield significant influence among members," having mobilized the necessary numbers to block the "proposed landmark reforms." The vote "ended up" 68 in favor of the reforms and 125 against. Under the "unsuccessful changes, anyone who had a finding made against them by the Office of Liquor and Gaming" would have been barred from holding a position on the board. Donnelly also wanted to remove the requirement for prospective directors "to have been paying members of the club for three years" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 9/13). In Sydney, Adrian Proszenko reported the vote "keeps the door ajar" for Fitzgerald and Spagnolo to "return to office at future elections." It was "clear from the outset" that Donnelly would not "have the numbers." A dozen members "approached the microphone over the course of about an hour, all of them speaking against the reforms." Fitzgerald "also spoke passionately against the proposed constitution." The self-proclaimed "Emperor" of Parramatta said that the "wiping out of previous directors would eliminate worthy candidates," citing former Dir Glenn Duncan as an example (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 9/13).