Grant saves his job after NRL meeting
The war between ARL Commission chairman John Grant and clubland is over but it's murky as to at what cost.
On Tuesday, Grant negotiated what seemed improbable by keeping his job after striking a peace deal with disgruntled clubs during a marathon seven-hour meeting.
The chairmen and chairwomen marched into Rugby League Central seeking to axe him after he last month pulled from the table a five-year funding deal worth over $1 billion.
Both sides conceded ground as they worked through a new arrangement which will come into effect in 2018.
Among the key points are:
- A funding deal which will fund the clubs above the salary cap however the NRL refused to divulge details of how the money will be distributed.
- The NRL will in the new year consider a push to give the clubs and state leagues a presence on the eight-seat commission
- Grant will be allowed to keep his job and no end date was put on his tenure. It had been reported that the clubs were pushing for Grant to resign within 12 months.
- The establishment of a sinking fund which will prop up clubs which fall on hard times. The clubs had until now resisted pushes for such a fund because they didn't believe the viability of other clubs was their concern.
- A 65 per cent increase in grassroots funding.
The clubs had called Tuesday's emergency general meeting after Grant pulled a deal which would have funded clubs at 130 per cent of the salary cap each year.
Grant refused to face the media afterwards and NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg was evasive on how the new arrangement would mete out the spoils of the $1.8 billion television deal.
He argued that he couldn't say how much it is worth because they had not yet struck a collective bargaining agreement and therefore did not know how much the salary cap would be.
This is despite their previous agreement being negotiated as a percentage of a yet-to-be-determined salary cap.
"What I can tell you is clubs will definitely have a margin above salary cap in the future," Greenberg said during a press conference that was light on details.
"But that will be determined when we do the salary cap."
He said the clubs had agreed to the principles and mechanisms which would govern how the clubs are funded.
Grant, who last month said he planned to stay in the job for another five years, got his wish to remain.
In exchange, it appears the clubs will now get a greater say in how the game is run.
They along with the NSWRL and QRL are pushing for up to four spots on a new-look commission.
With AOC president John Coates conducting a constitutional review, Greenberg said they would consider the proposal in the new year but denied the independent commission had compromised its independence.
"There's a real appetite to consider how clubs can get a greater say around the commission table," Greenberg said.
"The commission is open to that, I'm open to that and the clubs would welcome it."