You hear it all the time. Rugby League players are just greedy. They just want to get as much money as possible and don’t care about the consequences of their actions.
Let me tell you right now, players have NOTHING on Rugby League clubs who have proven they will happily watch the game being torn to shreds if they feel they can get a better financial deal for themselves.
While players salaries are capped and their earnings have to be reported to the NRL, no such caps exist on club administrators. How much they pull out of the game through deals they negotiate with sponsors and salaries they set themselves up with is not reported anywhere at all.
Rugby League has a very long history of being poorly run. While it’s easy to point fingers at the games administrators, the people running our clubs have in many cases been so detrimental to the health of the game that they have held it back from growing into a much bigger sport.
Expansion doesn’t occur in Rugby League because NRL clubs are greedy. They don’t want their 1/16th share of broadcasting money diluted and their 1 in 16 vote on big issues to hold less clout.
These are the organisations that will attack the NRL for allowing players to sign contracts a year ahead of time as they negotiate contracts with players who are not off contract a year ahead of time!
In short, the people running NRL clubs are a bunch of hypocrites. They may say they are concerned about the direction the game is heading in, but don’t buy it. All they are concerned about is getting more money out of the NRL by pressuring them via the media.
From the NRL’s point of view, clubs are not to be trusted with money at all!
The NRL has had to step in and take over the Gold Coast Titans completely in recent weeks after the clubs got to a point where it couldn’t even pay it’s own bills.
The NRL also effectively took over the Newcastle Knights, had to give financial assistance to the St George/Illawarra Dragons, had to step in and take control of the Wests Tigers due to one side of the joint venture falling apart, and gave the Cronulla Sharks all sorts of help through the ASADA crisis that saved the club money they wouldn’t have had to spend themselves.
On top of that you have other clubs who will still cry poor despite the NRL grant covering player salaries.
It’s all well and good for clubs to ask why the NRL is spending so much money, but think about it for a moment. The NRL has to run and fund Rugby League at every single level of the game across Australia. On top of that the NRL is spending money to help the game grow overseas.
Do you want to know why those costs have risen so much over the course of the last few years? Because until a few years ago the game was under funded, and these very important areas of the game were not getting the funding they needed as NRL clubs themselves soaked up as much money as they possible could!
Rugby League is a big sport, well beyond what you see on the NRL field. All of that junior football, all of the facilities used, that all needs to be paid for!
The NRL has done a tremendous job in recent years spending money on areas of the game that have been neglected for decades. Rugby League in Australia finally gets funded correctly. It can finally stand on it’s own two feet. It finally holds it’s own future in it’s hands and doesn’t need to rely on any outside influences to shape the games future at all.
NRL clubs don’t care about any of that. They just want more money.
When the NRL signs it’s next broadcasting deal for around $2 billion, don’t expect clubs to thank the NRL administration.
I have no doubt that if it were up to the NRL they would own every NRL club. They would have complete control of club finances and be able to change some of the archaic attitudes that prevail on clubland.
Until that happens we have to put up with a bunch of poorly run clubs whinging for more money that no one will be accountable for once it is handed over.
If you ask me, I’d rather the NRL be in control of any extra money the game has lying around because clubs…they can’t even run stable businesses despite their biggest expenditure being covered completely by the NRL itself.
If it’s between a bunch of old football heads controlling the games purse strings or a professional from the banking sector who was brought specifically to do this very job we are talking about, I’m backing Mr Smith all the way.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com