THE Wests Tigers chairman who rubberstamped Robbie Farah’s four-year $3.5 million deal in 2013 has confirmed the local junior was owed “a lot of money” by the club.
Former Tigers chairman Nick Di Girolamo told The Sunday Telegraph he accepted full responsibility for Farah’s contract and rejected ex-coach Mick Potter’s claim the club was “frivolous” with its spending.
“Firstly, I don’t want to be drawn into any criticism of the current administration,” Di Girolamo said.
“I was an advocate for an independent board and I still am. They’ve obviously got difficult decisions to make and they need to be given every opportunity to do so.
“In terms of what transpired during Robbie’s last contract negotiations, the assertion he’s being paid overs is a furphy.
“I can confirm Robbie was owed a lot of money by the Tigers and the other issue was he was being chased by Souths and the Gold Coast.
“We wanted Robbie Farah to be a Wests Tiger for life. Robbie’s the NSW Origin vice-captain. His peers in the same echelon are being paid similar money. That’s reality.
“So any suggestion that the board was being frivolous with Wests Tigers money is nonsense.”
Nick Di Girolamo and Robbie Farah.
Nick Di Girolamo and Robbie Farah. Source: News Corp Australia
Di Girolamo, who stepped aside from Wests Tigers after being named as part of an ICAC investigation, was the figure who famously sent ex-Premier Barry O’Farrell the bottle of Grange Hermitage red wine that ended his tenure.
The former Tigers board member, who is still awaiting a final judgment on the ICAC investigation, to which he denies any wrongdoing, said he would make the same decision again “without batting an eyelid”.
“Anyone who’s picked up a Steeden would know that when you’ve got three young guns like James Tedesco, Luke Brooks and Mitchell Moses coming through in key positions, they’re going to need an experienced head to guide them,” Di Girolamo said.
“So if people think that the decision to sign Robbie was wrong, I accept full responsibility for that.
“But at the time given the money he was owed and the sacrifices he had made and his value to the club on and off the field as a local junior, we thought it was the right decision.
“If I had to make the same decision again, I would do it without batting an eyelid.”
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