NRL slashes costs and backs clubs through Coronavirus crisis
The NRL has agreed on a recovery plan that will see the League reduce its operating costs by 53% over the remainder of the year while clubs will each receive $2.5 million to help them survive financial impact of Coronavirus pandemic.
Announcing the plan, Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) Chair Peter V’landys and NRL Chief Executive Todd Greenberg said the plan provided funding certainty for the remainder of the 2020 season.
The deal, unanimously supported by all 16 NRL clubs, was created on the back of a significant whole of game cost reduction. It will see the clubs gain access to funding via a $40 million rescue package - equivalent to three months' costs - should the season fail to resume this year.
Dealing with a worst-case scenario for the competition as a result of Coronavirus that see the 2020 Telstra Premiership competition not resume, the deal includes two months' pay for the players under a proposed 75% pay cut.
The ARLC last week informed clubs that it had enough funds to pay their monthly club grants of $1.2 million for the next three months.
But, following meetings with the Rugby League Players Association over the last week, it is understood players will get two months' pay to last the next seven months.
A quarter of the players' pay will come from the game's injury-hardship fund, while it is expected a tiered pay cut will be applied to protect minimum-wage players.
Clubs will also cap their football department spending while the NRL’s head office will reduce operating costs by 53% with executive salaries cut by 25%.
Advising that he nonetheless remains hopeful that the competition could resume in July, when lucrative broadcast payments would also recommence, V'landys stated “we have a consolidated plan and, working with the clubs and the players, are united in our efforts to do all we can to protect rugby league.
"We had no option but to stop the competition in the wake of advice from our biosecurity and pandemic expert, but remain optimistic that the season will restart as quickly as possible, ideally by July 1. If that isn’t possible, then we need to be prepared for all contingencies.
“The crisis has highlighted that the game’s present cost structure is not sustainable and the ARLC will lead by example in substantially reducing its costs now and into the future.”
Greenberg said although the decisions involved short term pain, the measures would protect the sustainability of the game and set it up for the future, adding “we are working together to achieve the best outcome in the short, and long term.
"We must use this opportunity to reset the game's costs and overall structure.
“These measures will put the game in the best position to rebound strongly from the pandemic.”
The NRL says the total $40 million rescue package would be an increase of $6.4 million to its planned budget for the 2020 season.
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