AAP Rugby

Players to seek new pay deal with NRL

By AAP Newswire

The Rugby League Players Association will seek a new pay deal with the NRL following their intention to resume the competition in late May.

The players union last week agreed to a 71 per cent pay cut with league office based on the entire season being wiped out by the coronavirus.

The deal included a minimum 29.5 per cent share of additional revenue, however now RLPA boss Clint Newton wants to head back to the negotiating table.

"We were still optimistic about getting the matches on," Newton said on Friday.

"Now it becomes about, well if we're working towards (May 28), then you obviously have to take into consideration all the revenue we're able to generate.

"There'll be a new discussion about the distribution percentages and the operational costs of putting the games on."

Earlier on Friday, ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys declared all talks with the RLPA had already been finalised.

"The (collective bargaining agreement) always says that they get 29 per cent and we will honour that," he said.

Any new deal will likely hinge on the league's talks with broadcasters on what value a restructured competition holds once its up and running again.

Newton hopes the union will be involved in what could be potentially explosive discussions with The Nine Network and Fox Sports.

"So we certainly would like to think that we're going to be a part of those discussions," Newton said.

"Whether that means being in the room, that's something we could work through."

Without details on how many games will be played, Newton concedes it is difficult to assess this year's broadcast revenue and how much it'll cost to run them.

Border restrictions could force Brisbane, North Queensland, Gold Coast and the Warriors to be isolated in Sydney, adding further expenditure.

"Then you've got to try and forecast how long will that be required," Newton said.

"And then if those border restrictions are lifted and we go back to chartered flights, then that's a different operational expenditure model."

Newton also admits more games doesn't necessarily mean more money, with Nine possibly wanting to negotiate for a cheaper deal.

The lack of a crowd could diminish the value of the television product, while a November finish will clash with cricket's Twenty20 World Cup.

"Obviously the more matches, the more expense is going to be required, then it actually may not be better to play more matches," Newton said.

With teams expecting to be back training in early May, the NRL is likely to be under pressure to quickly sign off on deals with the broadcasters and the RLPA.

"A lot of it's going to depend on how it goes with the broadcasters before we know what numbers we're dealing with, and then it's about the distribution of those numbers," Newton said.