The National Rugby League (NRL) and the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) have reached agreement on financial measures which will be taken while the NRL Telstra Premiership is suspended due to the COVID-19 virus.
Following a meeting between NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg and RLPA CEO Clint Newton, the NRL and the RLPA have today agreed that a total of $24.6 million will be distributed to players.
The interim agreement was also approved today by the RLPA Board and endorsed by players.
The deal will see players earn two months wages and payments. Due to the suspension of the 2020 season, players will surrender five out of 12 months’ salary if the competition is unable to resume.
Key features of the agreement include:
- A total of $24.6 million in player payments secured, which includes $5.4 million from the liquidation of the Injury Hardship Fund
- Players will receive a minimum of 29.5% of any additional net revenues over the revised forecast received by the NRL (based on the current format under the CBA)
- The rules of the Retirement Account have been amended to allow players suffering financial hardship early access – with those wishing to do so guaranteed their full amount
- The NRL will also resource the Wellbeing and Education program at each Club to ensure players have access to the relevant support
- The RLPA will have agreement rights and involvement in any revisions to the salary cap and player benefits beyond this period
- The RLPA will be included in key discussions – including with broadcasters and regarding the future competition structure and scheduling
- The RLPA will conduct a special purpose audit to continue with the transparency of the game’s current and future financial status
- Existing playing contracts will otherwise remain protected
“This is a difficult time for our game and the wider community and the challenges we face are immense, and unprecedented,” Mr Greenberg said.
“The players understand the severity of the circumstances we face and have demonstrated their willingness to work with us to secure the best possible outcome to protect the long-term future of our game.
"I know it hasn’t been easy and I thank the RLPA and the playing group for their maturity, professionalism and diligence in helping us reach this solution.”
RLPA CEO Clint Newton said: “The entire community has been impacted by these extraordinary and unexpected circumstances. Our great game and our people are feeling those effects.
“The Coronavirus pandemic has placed the game and its people under huge pressure and players have assumed the responsibility, like many others, to ensure the future of our Clubs and the NRL is protected.
“Players will share in this pain while games are suspended and have done what was required to ensure the game’s short- and longer-term future. However, we want to be clear that this arrangement is based on the worst-case scenario, should we not get back on the field in 2020.
“Based on the current financial position of the game, the information we have been provided and the guarantees we have secured, we believe that this is a fair deal and we have secured the best outcomes for our members, while ensuring they are protected and included upfront in decision making long-term.”
Mr Greenberg commended Mr Newton for his commitment to working with the NRL in reaching an agreement which is testament to the true partnership between their organisations.
“Clint has shown tremendous leadership throughout these discussions and it is only through collaboration and mutual trust that we have been able to complete this agreement in order to preserve the game’s long term future.”
Mr Newton also recognised the NRL and ARLC for their commitment to working through this difficult process in a timely and respectful manner.
“I would like to firstly commend our members for their patience and understanding over the past two weeks,” Mr Newton said. “The sacrifices you have and will continue to make for the good of the game deserve to be applauded.
“Secondly, to the RLPA team and Board, thank you for your tireless work and support to get us to this point.
“Lastly, I would like to thank the ARLC and the NRL, particularly Peter V’landys and Todd Greenberg, for their transparency and commitment during these extremely challenging circumstances."