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NRL Will Give Clubs More Money If Necessary, ARLC Boss, Peter V’landys Says

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman, Peter V’landys, told 100% Footy the NRL will distribute even more money back into the clubs if they need it to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve increased their distribution dramatically this year because of that,” V’landys said, discussing the financial impacts the league has faced in the wake of the global pandemic, that forced the NRL to suspend its season in March, before its controversial May 28 return to action.

“They haven’t had crowds, sponsorship is under threat, so we are going to be giving them a higher distribution than we have in other years.

“I promised that all clubs would come out of this, and I am pretty confident that they will.

“If we have to give them more money to get them out of the situation, we will.

“In my view, the clubs are shareholders and they should be getting the dividends.

“So the two objectives are to maximise our distribution to the clubs, but at the same time buying assets that benefits the game for the future,” he said.

V’landys also discussed the need for the NRL to reset its cost structure in the wake of COVID-19, saying the league must maximise its revenue while it can.

“That’s important, and they have to have commercial responsibility,” V’landys said, discussing the need for clubs to take on more responsibility from a financial side.

“This is our one chance to reset the cost structure of the game, there is no doubt we were living outside our means.

“The clubs need to look at their own businesses and make them cost-effective, and there are a lot of areas they have to look at including the salary cap.

“They will all be looked at in the next 12 months… I hope the salary cap stays where it is, I don’t think the players should be affected.

“There might be a small change to that, but I’m pretty confident we have come out of it pretty well.

“The one factor that we have done by having the seven-year certainty on our revenues, in sport, you need certainty.

“Foxtel is our senior partner; it provides the game with the majority of the money.

“It is the traditional media, and over time the traditional media will migrate to the over-the-top media, which is Netflix, Kayo, so the game has to maximise the revenue while they are there,” he said.

V’landys also discussed the NRL’s plans to expand to 17 clubs, saying if it does happen, the new club would have to be Brisbane-based.

“If there is a 17th team, it will be in Brisbane, no doubt about that,” V’landys said.

“That’s where the market is, that’s where we are strong, it’s no good spending a lot of money in rusted on AFL states in my view.

“You want to go to the states where you have the nurseries and a population that loves the game.

“But before we do that, it has to be a pretty strong business case, and also that the Broncos aren’t affected, and the Titans aren’t affected.

“We don’t want to cannibalise them at all.

“There’s a long way to go, because we really need to stack up commercially… but I like the fac the players can get a bye, it helps their mental wellbeing and can always look forward to having that weekend off, so there is that benefit.

“But it has to stack up commercially first and foremost,” he said.