NRL clubs have made a move to oust Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman John Grant after Grant, along with NRL CEO Todd Greenberg, promised clubs a funding bonus, and then backpedaled on that promise due to other areas of the game needed the money more.
The clubs not only want Grant removed, they also want more power to vote on who is on the ARL board. They want more money and more power…
The whole idea of the independent commission was that no one area of the game had more power than it should have. Rugby League in Australia is a very big sport with a lot of interested parties. All of them want more than they are getting. From your local club to referee associations, NRL clubs, state bodies, everyone believes they deserve more money.
The funny thing is that every level of the game is better funded than it has ever been.
When I look at this move by NRL clubs, I can’t help but see the hypocrisy that layers every single one of their demands.
Look at the st George/Illawarra Dragons for instance. They want to have a bigger say on who is running the game. They believe they deserve it. The thing is, the Dragons themselves have been set up in a way that members can not vote on who stands on their board. The clubs own members can not vote out their under-performing board which means the board and the CEO are not accountable to members in any way and their jobs are safe.
Nice work if you can get it…
Look at the disaster that is the Newcastle Knights. A club that managed just a single win in the salary cap area. A club who is so poorly run they can not find a buyer. They have a heap of loyal support in Newcastle, and yet their board and their CEO have turned the club into one that is terrible on an historic scale.
The Gold Coast Titans were flat out saved from extinction because the NRL used its ability to pour emergency funding into the club for the greater good of the game. They brought people into the Titans to get the club back on its feet knowing that Rugby League could not afford to have a club go under. These are the type of powers clubs want to remove from the NRL at the oversight of the ARLC, despite the fact these powers keep many of these clubs alive! To the Titans credit they obtained from casting a vote in this latest power play.
The NRL was forced to step in and take partial control of the Wests Tigers after one side of the joint venture basically died. There was never any moves by the NRL to move the club, they just brought stability and a guarantee that the club would survive.
While all of this was happening a poorly run Parramatta Eels club was breaching the salary cap intended to stop clubs from spending themselves to death. Forget the fact they did such a poor job of it that they didn’t win anything worthwhile as they broke the cap, the NRL were the ones that had to step in and fix what is still a terrible
The Penrith Panthers named a new CEO of the future who was there for all of about three and a half months before he left the club. The Cronulla Sharks managed to win the Premiership just a few season after one of the most embarrassing saga’s in the history of the game was uncovered by ASADA. The Broncos fended off suggestions they had broken the salary cap, but only just. The Storm, Warriors, and Bulldogs have all been caught breaking the salary cap during the NRL era.
Do you see where I am going with all of this? These clubs honestly think they know what is best for the game? This mess of organisations who agree to a set of rules they commonly break, who can’t keep their books in the black, who can have their funding boosted by millions of dollars but still cry poor, and club chairmen and and CEO’s drive around in free cars negotiated on behalf of their clubs….these are the people that want more money?
Since the independent commission was put in place and broadcasting deals finally reached a level needed to fund the game adequately, Rugby League power brokers have had to play a lot of catch up. From more modern issues such as putting in place player education programs to basics such as boosting funding to Rugby League in states other than NSW and QLD. To get all of that up and running, funded to the right level, and working efficiently takes time.
In the history of the game the Australian Rugby League Commission has been around for a minute. Most of these clubs have been around for decades, and yet they still look like organisations that are trying to build towards being ready to survive in a commercial environment.
If I had to choose between which side I was backing, the ARLC or the NRL clubs, I know which side would get my vote. The last thing Rugby League in Australia needs, a sport that belongs to you and I, is for it to hand power over to 16 commercial operations who only care about their own success and who would throw the rest of the game under a bus in a second if it means a few extra dollars go into their own pockets.
If you don’t believe that is the case maybe you need a history lesson….