NRL seeks new CEO ahead of season resumption

The NRL says its been given the go-ahead to restart its 2020 season. Photo: Nikolas Gannon (CC BY 2.0)

The NRL says it’s been given the go-ahead to restart its 2020 season. Photo: Nikolas Gannon (CC BY 2.0)

As the coronavirus pandemic swings a wrecking ball through world sport, Australian sports executives are working out pay cuts with their players whose seasons have been suspended in the fight against the virus.

While the AFL has been able to reach an agreement with its players, the NRL is looking for a new CEO after Todd Greenberg stepped down following a collapse in talks between rugby league players and the sport’s governing body, and the discovery of mismanagement of the players’ retirement funds.

The hunt for a rugby league chief comes as the NRL says it’s been given the go-ahead from state and federal governments to resume its 2020 season on 28 May.

Players were upset at Greenberg, after hearing about the proposed pay cuts of executives and players.

Sports journalist Paul Kent said on Fox League that Greenberg had been unreasonable in his decision-making.

“The players are the victims where they were told one in all in, you take pay cuts we have to take pay cuts. Players take 72 per cent, here at NRL, we’re gonna take 25 per cent…and this is the most bloated organisation in the country, and they’ve gone very mildly at their own wages,” he said.

“The other thing too is, Todd Greenberg came out and said, ‘look I’ll take leave without pay’. Totally ridiculous. He said that but everyone said when are you going to do that? Well not now, later. Well when is later?”

The AFL has reached a deal where players will take a 50 per cent pay cut if the season continues and 70 per cent if it can’t be finished.

To add to the unease towards Greenberg, rugby league players are having to give up more because of a mismanagement of funds.

On top of the large pay cuts, players have discovered that roughly ten million dollars have been removed from their retirement funds.

When presented with a list of demands from the players on Fox League, the Chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission, Peter V’landys, gave the players some delightful news, guaranteeing a repayment of the retirement funds, and a proper auditing of NRL finances.

The NRL appear to be on the way to repairing its relationship with its players, as the hunt for Greenberg’s replacement continues before the planned resumption of the rugby league season in Australia.