NRL boss Todd Greenberg admits a decision on South Sydney's medical retirement application for Sam Burgess could drag on until after the new year.
The governing body is currently examining Burgess' medical history after the former Rabbitohs captain decided to quit the game last month due to injury.
Their findings will have major implications for South Sydney's salary cap, with the English international walking away despite three more years left on his deal.
It is understood he was on around $1 million a season, all of which will be exempt from the cap if the club can prove a fresh injury forced him out of the game.
Greenberg revealed on Wednesday that auditors have asked South Sydney to provide more records into Burgess' problematic shoulder issues.
"There's been some additional discussions with the club," Greenberg said.
"I think auditors and salary cap advisors are awaiting some more medical reports from the club and also Sam's doctors.
"I don't have a timeframe. Those sort of things can create a lot of paperwork as you can imagine. I would be hopeful it will be resolved before Christmas.
"If not, it will be resolved in the new year."
Burgess' exit immediately resulted in the Rabbitohs being linked to a number of stars off-contract at the end of this year, including Brisbane forward David Fifita.
That speculation has since cooled, as has discussions with rugby union convert and two-time Dally M winger of the year Semi Radradra.
Currently playing with French rugby team Bordeaux, the former Parramatta star ruled out a return to the NRL on Wednesday.
"I know there are a lot of rumours going on and talking about a return to the XIII but a return to XIII is not an option for me," Radradra told a French media outlet.
"I already proved myself in XIII. The NRL is behind me, it's over.
"I already proved that I was one of the best Fijians in this league. Playing XV, I like it , I love more and more, I'm in a different environment.
"I still have a lot to learn and things to prove."
Should the Rabbitohs' salary cap exemption be approved by the NRL, it could create some angst across clubland regarding long-term deals for veteran players.
But Greenberg insists it wouldn't be a recurring trend.
"The point you miss, if you think that's an advantage for the club, is the cash position because the clubs still have to pay the players," Greenberg said.
"If South Sydney have to pay a player that can no longer play on their books, one is the treatment of it under the salary cap, but they're also running a business.
"I don't get a sense there will be a lot of clubs looking to put money into players who aren't playing for them."
Australian Associated Press