The National Rugby League (NRL) has agreed on a recovery plan with Clubs relating to the impact of Covid-19 on the 2020 Telstra Premiership competition.
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 clubs, was created on the back of a significant whole of game cost reduction.
“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,” Mr V’landys said.
“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.”
The revised financial models provide Clubs with the capacity to survive the financial year with either a remodelled 20-week competition, including finals series and Origin, or a worst case scenario of no football being played again this year.
Details of the recovery plan include:
- The NRL will pay a total of $40 million in monthly grant payments to the Clubs between April and October to cover their ongoing operational costs. This is an increase of $6.4m of funding compared to the 2020 budget;
- The NRL will reduce its operating costs by 53%, including a 95% reduction in staffing levels during the shutdown period and a 25% cut in executive salaries.
In addition, the NRL has proposed a funding model for player payments to the RLPA which will be provided to its members for consideration.
Mr 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.
“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.”