United Clubs to Face NRL

United clubs to face NRL

BRENT READ

NRL CEO Andrew Abdo.

RUGBY league’s financial uncertainty is set to reach another flashpoint today as club bosses call a meeting to ensure they present a united front on

the unresolved issues that

continue to cast a pall over

their respective futures.

It is understood the

meeting has been called

without the NRL’s knowledge as the clubs look to ensure they are on the same page when it comes to funding for next season, the salary cap and roster sizes.

The NRL has been locked in talks with the players union over myriad of issues and chief executive Andrew Abdo had hoped to make a breakthrough in negotiations before the new financial year began on November 1. That didn’t happen.

Clubs, meanwhile, have grown increasingly nervous. They still don’t know how much money they will receive this season — they have been guaranteed their existing funding but the NRL has indicated more money will be forthcoming depending on the financial success or failure of the State of Origin series.

Their funding will also revolve around the salary cap — talks with the Rugby League Players Association have been continuing for weeks without a deal.

The NRL wants the players to take a 10 per cent pay cut. The union wants a five per cent cut. The gulf — about $500,000 per club and $8 million in total — has proven insurmountable.

The clubs have at least received some surety, ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys guaranteeing clubs will retain 30 players in their top squad.

The player market has been slow to ignite, although Newcastle landed a significant blow in their quest to reignite Mitchell Pearce on Monday when Blake Green confirmed he would stay next season.