NRL’s shock decision on Fifita Bali incident
The NRL has handed down its decision on the David Fifita case, with the Broncos rising star escaping punishment for his Bali bust-up after the league opted not to suspend or fine the Brisbane forward.
Fifita has been cleared to play in Round 1 of the NRL season following a six-week investigation by the NRL Integrity Unit.
Fifita, 19, was locked up in a Bali jail for three days last month following an alleged incident involving a nightclub security guard.
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The Broncos sent a club employee to Bali to broker his release, with Fifita reaching a "peace agreement" with his alleged victim.
The ordeal cost Fifita at least $30,000 in legal fees. The Broncos claimed to have not contributed financially to his release.
Fifita was expected to be sanctioned by the NRL following the incident, but the game's investigators have ruled that no further action be taken.
"The NRL's Integrity Unit says evidence relating to the incident outside a Bali nightclub was inconclusive," an NRL statement said.
"The NRL said it was satisfied that the actions of the Broncos club were appropriate in the circumstances."
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said it was important the game made evidence-based decisions about player behaviour.
"It is important that our determinations are based on the evidence before us," he said.
"In this case, after analysing a multitude of evidence we cannot say with certainty that a breach has occurred."
Brisbane Broncos CEO Paul White welcomed the NRL's decision and confirmed the Broncos would not be handing down any club-based penalty to Fifita.
"We are satisfied with the NRL's decision on this matter - David will pull on a Broncos jersey to play Round 1 and we feel that is a fair result for him and for the club," White said.
"We trust David's version of events in that he did not commit an assault, but we understand that the Integrity Unit had a job to do. We have respected that process from the very start and cooperated every step of the way.
"As a club, our main focus was to ensure David returned home safely and we were able to work together to achieve that - and the NRL has found that we acted appropriately in at-times challenging circumstances."
In the interests of corporate governance, the Brisbane Broncos Board also commissioned an independent review of the club's handling of the incident, including the actions of the players and club officials involved.
The review, conducted by an independent Brisbane law firm, also endorsed the club's handling of the issue - and that report was handed on to the Integrity Unit as part of the investigation.
Apart from making a brief statement upon his return to Brisbane, Fifita has not publicly explained the circumstances surrounding the incident.