With the suspension of this year’s NRL season due to the coronavirus outbreak, several clubs and officials are facing huge pay cuts.
The financial stability of all the clubs in this crisis is actually one of the top concerns of the player’s association. The leading players of the league presented 10 demands ahead of the meeting on Monday.
Here are the 10 demands of the NRL players:
1. NRL is transparent over what money it retains after giving cash to clubs
2. Ability to audit the NRL finances
3. NRL guarantee to repay the 2018 and 2019 retirement funds
4. Players get a minimum of 29.5 per cent of any extra revenues made by the NRL
5. Forthcoming years of every current player contract is guaranteed.
6. Any changes to salary cap and pay for 2021 or after are agreed upon by the RLPA
7. Clubs continue to pay private medical insurance
8. Agreement of representative fees for 2020
9. The RLPA wants direct involvement in talks with broadcasters and over how the schedule and structure of the NRL
10. The RLPA wants involvement in talks about other revenue streams the game can look at
Queensland coach Kevin Walters also said that the players need to be ready when the game returns. The NRL can’t afford to wait longer while they get themselves fit.
‘They have to be ready to play. Even with the restrictions that they can’t train with teammates. We can laugh about it all we like but these are the rules’, Walters said.
‘When they say this game is on they need to be ready the players. Taking a month to get ready for a game of football that is pie in the sky stuff. We do not have that time. The players don’t have anything to do right now except look after their bodies and maintain their strength, their conditioning and their fitness and skills’, he added.
During a two-and-a-half-hour meeting between the Rugby League Players Association and the NRL, Manly skipper Daly Cherry-Evans led a heated argument against the game’s senior players and the NRL about the missing funds which costs around millions of dollars.
30 players also took turns to direct their frustrations towards ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys and NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg over the league’s financial state.
With NRL players facing up to 75% pay cut, they discovered that the league raided their retirement fund up to $10 million.
The money was used for NRL’s operational costs for the past two years. It was reported that the league is spending roughly around $181 million annually for regular season rounds, finals series, and State of Origin.
The NRL also said that they are still planning whether or not to pay every player $100,000 in 2021 to prevent the game from going bust.
‘It has been discussed and while we hope it doesn’t come to that, the harsh reality is that it may’, an unnamed player said.
‘It means a huge pay cut for some of the game’s high profile players and a smaller cut for others – but in the end, it may save all our jobs … and the game’, he added.
On the other hand, V’landys said that he is looking forward to resume the season as early as July.
‘It’s a lot better than how it looked (when the season was suspended). If it keeps trending like this, there is no reason we can’t recommence’, he said.