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NRL Cuts 25% Of Staff In $50 Million Restructure

T
he NRL has announced a restructure in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, seeing a 25% reduction in roles across all levels.

The NRL plans to target an annual reduction in all expenditure of $50 million with this move, as part of a broader plan to ensure a sustainable long-term future for rugby league by making the NRL a more dynamic and simplified business. 

The NRL has reportedly held a video conference this morning with staff to inform them they will, in the next 24 hours, have information on their future with the organisation.

This will reportedly be done via one-on-one calls with league staff, as the NRL works through the details and will let individual staff know if they have been let go as part of the restructure.

In a statement, the NRL said the main focus goals of the restructure include: a world class sports entertainment business and a governing body investing in participation and long-term connection to the community.

The NRL will be divided into seven teams: Competitions, Partnerships, Fan Experience, Finance, Technology & Operations, Risk, Integrity & Performance, Brand, Media & Communications, and Participation & Community.

NRL chief executive, Andrew Abdo, said the changes were vital to ensuring a more effective and efficient business in a post-COVID-19 economy. 

“Our business, like so many others, has been hit by a hurricane called COVID which caused substantial damage,” Abdo said.

“Our strategy moving forward is to stabilise, renovate and grow. 

“In order to stabilise, we must secure revenues and reduce our expenses to ensure a strong foundation.

“Then we will renovate by considering ways to make our products more entertaining and dynamic for our fans.

“Finally, we will develop bold plans for growth, looking at new products, new markets and how we can grow the game internationally. 

“Our game is part of the sports entertainment industry and we are aiming to transform faster than others to remain competitive in a dynamic market.

“We will lose some very good people during this process.

“Talented people with a genuine love and passion for our game who have all contributed in some way.

“This is painful but necessary process to ensure we survive. 

“I have genuine empathy for all employees affected and we will listen to their feedback,” he said.

Abdo also said he was confident rugby league would come out of COVID-19 with strong foundations to re-build from.

“What has inspired me most during the pandemic is how our game has come together,” Abdo said.

“We have shown what we can achieve when we work together.

“Rugby league, under the direction of the [Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC)] Commission, has led the way in Australian sport and I am confident we will continue to do so,’’ he said.

The restructure follows the announcement from the AFL last month of a similar move, cutting 20% of its workforce following a $400 million loss of annual income.