National Rugby League, Players Close To Agree On New Collective Bargaining Agreement
Interim Australian Rugby League Commission CEO Shane Mattiske "is confident the long-awaited collective bargaining agreement with National Rugby League players will be signed off within the next week," according to the AAP. An in-principle agreement "was made with the Rugby League Players Association in December, but players from four clubs have yet to sign off on the deal," which will see the salary cap rise from A$4.4M ($4.6M) to A$5.8M for the '13 season. Mattiske "ends his eventful seven-month stint in the hotseat having helped oversee the new billion-dollar broadcast deal late last year, in addition to a new multi-million-dollar sponsorship with Holden" on Thursday. He "will now return to his role as director of strategy and special projects, having stepped in to fill the void left by David Gallop's shock axing in June" (AAP, 2/1). In Brisbane, Peter Badel reported hundreds of NRL players "are set to be back-paid up to" A$100,000 as clubs and agents sweat on the ARLC "delivering a final salary cap figure." The RLPA hopes to finalize the collective bargaining agreement later this month, but in the meantime "scores of the players it represents are out of pocket." With the cap set to rise to A$5.85M once CBA negotiations are complete, clubs "are bracing to back-pay players for the money they were owed during the first quarter of the NRL's financial year." A leading agent said, "It is dead-set amateurish. Even the local businessman who owns a corner shop would have his budgets planned six months in advance" (COURIER-MAIL, 2/1).
A NEW ERA: In Sydney, Michael Chammas reported Mattiske "will hand the keys to the castle to new NRL CEO Dave Smith on Friday morning with the game on the verge of what he believes is a golden era." Mattiske said, "We now present the game to a new CEO, with the game in a stronger position than it has ever been in with a new five-year plan that is backed by the game's greatest ever media rights deal and some really solid sponsorship partnerships at all levels of the game" (SYDNEY MORNING HERALD, 2/1).