NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo vows to come down hard on Sam Burgess if allegations about his partying and marriage are proven – as Souths star stands down from his coaching role
- A report in The Australian has made serious allegations against Sam Burgess
- Burgess’ lawyer Mark O’Brien has denied all accusations against the NRL star
- The article also includes text messages Burgess’ ex-wife sent to Russell Crowe
- The NRL have launched probe into claims and police have started investigating
The NRL has vowed to take the ‘strongest possible action’ if bombshell allegations about Sam Burgess’ personal life are proven to be true.
The former Rabbitohs star was the subject of an explosive article by The Australian, which published claims about his marriage and wild lifestyle.
In the wake of the allegations, the 31-year-old stood down from his roles as Rabbitohs coaching assistant and Fox Sports commentator.
The NRL and NSW Police have both launched investigations into the allegations.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo said the claims against Burgess are ‘very serious allegations’, which are ‘new information’ to the league.
The NRL has vowed to take the ‘strongest possible action’ if bombshell allegations about Sam Burgess’ personal life are proven to be true. Burgess is pictured with his ex-wife Phoebe in 2016
Explosive claims about the 31-year-old former Rabbitohs player’s wild lifestyle were published on Thursday night by The Australian
‘It’s important we stay calm and we conduct a thorough investigation,’ he said on Friday afternoon.
‘We will look to work with the club to find out what happened and to get to the bottom of the facts.
Mr Abdo said the NRL would cooperate with the NSW Police, who have begun their own investigation into the matter.
‘If these allegations are proven, we will take the strongest possible action that we can,’ he said.
‘The NRL, the commission, do not condone violence, abuse, intimidation of anyone, let alone a woman.’
Mr Abdo said the allegations are ‘new information to the NRL’.
‘The allegations that were made and what was written in The Australian today is new information to the NRL,’ he said.
The CEO said the league would not take action on allegations.
‘However, I believe that Sam Burgess has stood himself down from South Sydney Rabbitohs duties this weekend.
‘And I also believe that he has stood down from Fox Sports as well.’
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo (pictured on Friday) said the claims against Burgess are ‘very serious allegations’, which are ‘new information’ to the league
The four-month investigation by the newspaper also claims to have uncovered text messages between Phoebe and Russell Crowe – who owns the NRL club
The article included text messages Burgess’ ex-wife Phoebe allegedly sent to Hollywood actor Russell Crowe, who owns the NRL club.
Staff members at South Sydney Rabbitohs have also been accused of covering up Burgess’ alleged indiscretions.
The lawyer acting for Burgess, Mark O’Brien, strongly denied all allegations.
‘The allegations are false and constitute an indefensible defamation against my client,’ Mr O’Brien said.
The newspaper claims to have uncovered text messages between Phoebe and Crowe in November 2018.
‘I thought we had the world at our feet together,’ Phoebe allegedly wrote to the actor.
‘He might need a good friend because he is just not our Sam.’
‘I thought we had the world at our feet together,’ Phoebe allegedly wrote to Russell Crowe about Sam Burgess
The article also included text messages Burgess allegedly sent to Phoebe, after her initial conversation came to light.
‘Phoebe why did you message RC saying everything,’ Burgess allegedly wrote.
‘What are you trying to solve here.’
Burgess and Phoebe broke up in December 2018, weeks after the birth of their son, Billy.
Their divorce after four years of marriage was finalised in April.
They also have a daughter, Poppy.
The article also included text messages Burgess allegedly sent to Phoebe, after her initial conversation with the Hollywood actor came to light
The former couple are seen together at a David Jones event in Sydney on February 7, 2018
NSW Police said they would be conducting their own investigation.
‘On Wednesday 30 September 2020, officers from The Hume Police District received a report outlining various allegations relating to the conduct of a 31-year-old man,’ a NSW Police Force spokesperson said.
‘Police have commenced inquiries and as these inquiries are in their infancy, no further comment will be provided at this time.’
Peter V’landys, the chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission, on Friday morning said the NRL would investigate the allegations.
Mr V’landys added that every person in the community deserves due process and natural justice.
Peter V’landys (pictured), the chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission, announced the NRL would investigate the allegations published in The Australian
‘The allegations have to be tested and we have to undertake an investigation,’ he told The Daily Telegraph.
‘We should have no prejudgement. Both Sam and the club should be afforded that.’
‘We are taking the matter pretty serious because these are serious allegations.’
Mr V’landys was also asked whether Burgess would be allowed to remain in the Rabbitohs COVID-19 safe ‘bubble’ ahead of this weekend’s finals match.
‘Again, at this stage they are allegations. We will start up an immediate investigation and see what evidence we can get,’ he said.
Mr V’landys said the NRL would take appropriate action if sufficient evidence is gathered.
Burgess and Phoebe (pictured) together have two children, Poppy and Billy
Last year, an apprehended violence order against Sam Burgess was taken out by police to protect Phoebe’s father Mitchell Hooke.
The AVO came after an alleged domestic violence incident at Mr Hooke’s property in Glenquarry, in the NSW Southern Highlands, on October 19.
Burgess was charged with domestic violence-related intimidation. He has pleaded not guilty.
The matter is due in court in November.
Burgess was 21 years old when he joined the Rabbitohs in 2010.
In two stints between 2008 and 2019 he played rugby league for England, including at the 2017 World Cup, and in 2007 represented Great Britain.
Burgess was lured to rugby union in 2014 and joined Bath in England.
In 2015, he was whisked into Stuart Lancaster’s ill-fated World Cup squad just nine months after his union debut. England failed to get beyond the pool stage of their home tournament.
After they crashed out, Burgess quit union and tore up his contract with Bath, returning to Australia and rugby league.
He retired last October, but stayed at the Rabbitohs where he is now a coach.
Since his retirement in October 2019, Burgess has been a coach at former club South Sydney Rabbitohs