Dyldam and the Eels have fallen out over sponsorship payments. Photo: Photo: Jessica HromasParramatta are on a collision course with their major sponsor after Dyldam allegedly fell more than half a million dollars in arrears in its scheduled payments.
The Eels and Dyldam are likely to part company at the end of the season regardless of whether the property development and construction group meets a payment plan outlined by the club.
Dyldam has been a corporate supporter of the Eels since 1998, with the company taking up the jersey sleeve sponsorship five years ago. They have enjoyed naming rights honours and the pride of place on the Eels jersey in recent years, but officials have become frustrated by their inability to meet their financial obligations in a timely fashion.
A source close to the matter said: “They always pay, but they’re always late.”
Parramatta have endured the most tumultuous season in the club’s history following a series of dramas including the salary cap scandal, troubled former skipper Kieran Foran’s departure with three years remaining on his contract, the Corey Norman drugs saga and the Semi Radradra domestic violence allegations, to name a few.
It’s understood Dyldam had attempted to negotiate a reduction of its promised payments based on reputational damage to their brand via its association with the Eels. However, the club is adamant it is entitled to the full amount agreed upon.
Former Parramatta powerbrokers had tolerated Dyldam’s tardiness because they feared they had few other corporate alternatives available to them. However, temporary administrator Max Donnelly, parachuted in with an edict to get the blue and golds on track on and off the field, won’t tolerate financial commitments not being met.
The Eels believe their brand is worth a seven-figure amount next season after shedding the officials deemed responsible for overseeing the systematic rorting of the salary cap. It’s unlikely Dyldam will be able to agree to such a commitment, and other corporates are being lined up with a view to filling the void.
Donnelly has already begun to improve the club’s bottom line since the NSW government sacked the Parramatta Leagues Club board, which also oversees the Eels. After seeking independent legal advice, Donnelly dropped the club’s appeal against the NRL sanctions, negotiating a $250,000 reduction from the governing body’s $1 million fine for salary cap breaches in the process.
The Eels have recently extended the contract of coach Brad Arthur until the end of 2019 and will soon receive definitive rulings around their salary cap position that will allow them to extend the contracts of more than half a dozen players.
Parramatta has also begun interviewing candidates for the vacant CEO and football manager positions with a view to filling the positions over the off season.
The blue and gold will stage their final game at Pirtek Stadium next week against St George Illawarra before the arena is knocked down and redeveloped.
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