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SBD Global/October 16, 2013/Finance

Some National Rugby League Clubs Still Not Happy With 'Much-Needed' Cash Grant

NRL clubs will see a rise in funding of A$450,000 per club.
Financially "struggling" National Rugby League clubs were on Tuesday "hurled a much-needed lifeline -- although some weren't completely satisfied," according to Dean Ritchie of the DAILY TELEGRAPH. Some clubs "aren’t thrilled with the deal." Two CEOs contacted for comment "did not want to offer any positive quotes" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 10/16). In Sydney, Brad Walter reported the NRL "has committed the remainder" of the game's A$1.02B ($970M) broadcast revenue "to clubs and the state bodies." Details of how the money will be distributed "are to be finalised when the NRL completes a game-wide funding strategy early next year," but it has already been decided that all money from the TV deal "will go to the clubs and state leagues." NRL CEO Dave Smith said that the game's central administration "would be expected to fund itself by generating profits outside broadcast revenues." The move is "designed to ensure the long-term viability of NRL clubs," which will receive an increase in their annual funding grant to A$7.55M next season. The figure represents a rise of A$450,000 per club and "increases the gap between the annual grant and the salary cap," which will be lifted to A$6.7M next season. This year's cap was A$6.3M (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 10/16).

TAKING EFFECT: In Sydney, McDonald & Read reported the "comprehensive financial restructure will be unveiled in April" and take effect in '15. As the NRL's financial year draws to a close on Oct. 31, the funding announced will help clubs such as Wests Tigers, Cronulla and St. George Illawarra, which "are in a more perilous state than others." North Queensland Chair Peter Jourdain was pleased with the NRL's "fair-minded thinking." Jourdain said, "We've been discussing this with them over the last few weeks, so it's a good result for where we're at. This is a fair compromise to allow the clubs to get on and fund the increase in the salary cap next year and the NRL to work through the whole of game funding" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/16).
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