NRL caught out by missing $12.5m

Australia’s rugby league stars are fuming upon discovering the NRL had not contributed to the players’ retirement fund for nearly three years.

The development comes as reports emerged on Monday NRL officials, clubs and players have provisionally agreed to cost-cutting initiatives for the remainder of the year.

According to The Daily Telegraph, the NRL has moved funds around to create a $40 million emergency fund lifeline for clubs as part of wide-ranging cost cutting initiatives that emerged from Monday’s teleconference meeting between club bosses and the NRL commission.

The NRL has also provisionally approved $2.5 million grants for clubs, who would then receive no further scheduled NRL grants if the 2020 NRL season never starts back up again from its coronavirus shut down.

Under the provisional agreement, players will be paid separately 50 per cent of their contracted wage over the next seven months.

The NRL is supposed to pay $4.8 million every year to the Rugby League Players Association, and had not done so since 2017, leaving a $12.5 million black hole in the players’ retirement fund. That money was spent on “operational costs” instead.

Not including player payments and club grants, the NRL has reportedly been spending $181 million on operational costs annually, which equates to approximately $500,000 every day.

Fox Sports reporter James Hooper said the players were “furious” upon discovering the NRL’s neglect, confirming they have discussed the possibility of a revolt.

“It is an issue I know that has angered a lot of people in the NRL club land and I think that will certainly be a big part of the conversation tomorrow when they start to thrash out and go over all the finances,” Hooper told Fox League Live on Sunday.

Daly Cherry-Evans of the Manly Sea Eagles.Source:AAP

The Daily Telegraph reported Manly captain Daly Cherry-Evans took charge during a meeting with NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg and ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys on Sunday.

Approximately 30 players voiced their frustration during the brutal two-hour meeting.

“(Sunday’s meeting) was both productive and passionate, and that’s what we expect from players because they love their clubs and they love the game,” RLPA boss Clint Newton said.

“They want to ensure we are protecting the future of the game and the 16 clubs.

“This type of discussion is something that the game has now committed to do more regularly moving forward.

“That is, genuinely engaging with the RLPA and its members. Being open and transparent as a priority, but also having those tough conversations with each other.

“Clubs also need to be a part of that moving forward, which we welcome.

“To be on a zoom call with the best part of 20 or 30 players and be totally prepared to answer any questions that players had along with a couple of club CEOs, I think that has never happened in the game before.

“I think that is the part that is such a positive to come out of this.”

Rugby League Players Association CEO Clint Newton.Source:AAP

The Sydney Morning Herald revealed on Monday “ten commandments” the RLPA handed to the NRL, which included “transparency” to the company’s revenues and a guarantee the neglected retirement account will be paid in full.

Daily Telegraph journalist Paul Kent described the fiasco as “another example of financial mismanagement at the NRL and how they mislead us as a public,” on Fox League Live.

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