A salary-cap rorting accusation levelled against the Melbourne Stars was a light-hearted and poorly chosen remark, Hobart Hurricanes' wicketkeeper Tim Paine says.
Paine stood awkwardly in front of TV cameras at the team's hotel last night and read a short statement to the media. The former Test gloveman made a full apology to the BBL title favourites, who will host the Hurricanes in tonight's MCG semi-final.
"I made some comments on Melbourne radio last week related to the Melbourne Stars implying that they operate on a different set of rules to other Big Bash teams," Paine said.
"These comments were non-factual and were a poorly chosen, light-hearted remark.
"I apologise to the entire Melbourne Stars organisation. In no way did I intend to question the integrity of the players, management or the board.
"The Melbourne Stars have been the benchmark of this competition both on and off the field this season and I congratulate them for their success.
"I look forward to the clash [tonight] at the MCG."
The Stars go into tonight's clash with an 8-0 win-loss record this season.
Club president Eddie McGuire had said earlier yesterday the Stars were considering legal action.
The Stars boasted five members of the Australian team that beat England in the final T20 international on Sunday night - Cameron White, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, James Muirhead and veteran Brad Hodge.
Stars opener Luke Wright was a member of England's line-up.
"There's obviously a never-ending salary cap there that the Stars seem to run by," Paine said last week.
"And the rest of us live by another set of rules."
McGuire said the Stars shouldn't be penalised for being a professional club.
"We're the only club that reported a profit in the first year because we went out and got sponsors and built it like a professional sporting organisation," McGuire said.
He said big-name players were signed on three-year deals.
Hodge, the leading run scorer in T20 history, is employed as a player and batting coach.
David Hussey is third on the all-time T20 run-scoring list, trailing only West Indies' Chris Gayle and Hodge.
Club chief executive Clint Cooper said Hussey is an example of a Stars player who had accepted under market value to play in a successful side.
McGuire advised Paine to stick to on-field matters.
"Mate, just stand behind there with your overgrown gloves and try to catch a couple," McGuire said. "I take the utmost umbrage at this.
"So if this clown wants to just get up and sprout, then he's going to cop it right between the eyes. We've had enough."
Paine also said last week that if the Hurricanes won their semi-final they would be doing everyone else in the competition a favour.