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NRL players face 87% wage cut as clubs stand down staff and coaches

NRL players face 87% wage cut as clubs stand down staff and coaches
March 26, 2020

As the NRL faces up to the scenario of a drastically shortened season, the League has asked its players to take a pay cut of up to 87%

With clubs standing down staff and coaches, the Rugby League Players Association board is to meet this evening to consider its response after being handed the worst-case option on Wednesday.

Both the league and the players’ union are due to convene again on Friday, when it is hoped a deal will be finalised to give the game a clearer picture of its future.

The development follows advice from the NRL’s pandemic expert this week that the 2020 season will be a complete loss.

That scenario could leave several clubs in a dire financial position with questions raised over whether all 16 clubs would survive into 2021.

No figure has yet been agreed to and the union were on Thursday seeking further clarity over the NRL’s allocation of funds and outgoings over the coming months.

The situation would improve ff the competition restarts earlier, but the parties are working on a worst-case scenario and are going backwards from there.

Any deal would likely come into effect until the end of this year’s season, with players having already been paid 40% of their annual salary.

A tiered system of player cuts remains the highest priority for both the NRL and RLPA, shielding minimum-wage players from having next to no income.

Regardless, the pay cut would affect up to 500 NRL players and their families.

Advising that minimising the damage to fringe players during the shutdown had been the major concern for the players, NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg told Thursday’s Fox League Mornings “there wasn’t one of (the elite) players who were concerned about their own financial future.

“The primary concern that came through on that call was, ‘What are we going to do about the players from numbers 20-30?’

“And, ‘How do we make sure they stay afloat during this six month period?’ It was a nice, warming thing to hear the players have that view around their colleagues.”

Greenberg went on to describe the important of the NRL and RLPA showing a united front during the Coronavirus crisis.

He re-iterated how league central sent 95% of their employees home on leave for three weeks, while clubs are also working with skeleton staff, adding “when we went into the agreement with the players, the first thing we said and the agreement we made is they will get a percentage of the revenue.

“The players wanted to be genuine partners of the game, so they wanted to share in the game’s successes. So if the game does really well, they get a bigger slice.

“But in a genuine partnership, when the revenue goes down, you have to be aware that your percentage is going to drop with that. That’s the conversation we’re having with the players.”

With AAP.

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