Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman, Peter V’landys has been praised by several members of the NRL community for his work during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic.
After the 2020 season was put on hold due to rising fears and restrictions on the Coronavirus, there was undeniable uncertainty surrounding the immediate and long-term future of the NRL, but V’landys has remained consistent and confident at all times.
It is his demeanour that has led the game to its most united position in history, according to one NRL club boss, who said he’s never seen more inspiring leadership from another administrator in his 15 years in the game.
“He did a wonderful job last week,” the club boss told AAP anonymously.
“He thought of the clubs.
“We were all going to get less payments until he stepped in,” he said, following the NRL confirming a combined $60 million worth in grants for all 16 NRL clubs.
“We’re going to survive.
“It’s the first time for a decade that you’ve had in somebody there that realises the customer is the most important person, and that’s the football clubs.
“It’s a godsend that he came.
“I don’t know where we’d be if he hadn’t arrived,” he said.
The NRL had been locked in negotiations with the Rugby League Players Association (RLPA) for almost two weeks before players agreed to a 46 percent pay cut as a worst-case scenario, if the 2020 NRL season was cancelled.
RLPA’s new chief executive, Clint Newton, said he was taken aback by V’landys’ approach to the talks, labelling him as a fierce, emphatic negotiator.
“I think that’s something that I believe set him apart from many leaders that I’ve had to deal with,” Newton said.
“I think what Peter’s been able to demonstrate in his short amount of time is, one, his willingness to listen.
“And two, his ability to deliver on what he promises.
“They’re two critical traits that, if you’re looking to build trust, listening and doing what you say are of the highest priority,” he said.
While V’landys has only held the role of ARLC chairman for six months, the man responsible for leading the racing industry through the equine influenza crisis, said the clubs and players can now know they are supported to get through the crisis.
“The players have been very selfless, they’ve always acted in good faith, as have the clubs, so now that we’ve got those two deals done, we can keep the players viable and the clubs viable, as we continue to make ourselves viable,” V’landys said in an interview with Fox Sports.
Throughout the discussions with both players and clubs, V’landys has remained confident and adamant the game will be alive next year and will return as early as July.
The ARLC and NRL have since created a new committee, titled Project Apollo and to be led by commissioner Wayne Pearce, with the task of looking at all the options on how the NRL can resume the 2020 season.
Some of the options thrown on the table thus far include sending all 16 teams to a remote location to play out the remaining games, splitting the league into conferences to minimise travel, or restarting with State of Origin.
Despite the borders of Queensland and New Zealand remaining closed for an uncertain amount of time, V’landys remains confident the competition will resume by July and has also confirmed the NRL now plans to reconstruct the base costs of the game, after it was revealed the NRL had just $100 million in cash reserves due to their $182 million annual running costs.