National Rugby League To Double Payouts To Players With Serious Injuries To $940,000
National Rugby League players who "suffer career-ending injuries will be eligible for payouts" of up to A$1M ($940,000) under a "newly-proposed temporary insurance scheme," according to the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. The planned policy, "unanimously supported by the league and all 16 clubs," doubles the current amount of A$500,000. The payout will apply to the "most serious injuries, including paraplegia, quadriplegia, loss of sight and the loss of the use of a limb which end a player's career." It will cover the top 25 contracted NRL players in each club, "24-hours a day, seven days a week" (SMH, 7/24). In Sydney, Walshaw & Stevenson reported NRL CEO Dave Smith said that "working in conjunction with all 16 club CEOs, the code had created an 'interim scheme' which will give the game 'the cover we need' for the rest of this season." Smith said that, come next March, the NRL would "also have more substantial systems in place -- combining a broader 'whole of game' insurance plan with a fund which assists injured players from grassroots up" (DAILY TELEGRAPH, 7/25). In Sydney, Adrian Proszenko reported the Rugby League Players' Association has presented its constituents with the policy and a vote will "most probably be taken on whether to proceed within a week." RLPA President Clint Newton, who plays for Newcastle, said, "I wouldn't put anything towards the players I didn't believe in. I'm not a person sitting behind a desk rolling out a scheme for players when I'm not a part of it" (SMH, 7/24).
SMITH ADDRESSES REFORM CONCERNS: In Sydney, Brent Read reported Smith has "moved to quell mounting concern among clubs" over governance reform by insisting the changes are in "no way designed to remove some of the most powerful figures from the game." A group of "influential club chairmen met in Sydney" on Wednesday. One of their "chief concerns" was the perception that the NRL would want "all future chairmen to be independent." Should that arise, the likes of Sydney Roosters Chair Nick Politis and Canterbury Chair Ray Dib would be "forced to relinquish their positions as chairmen of their respective clubs." Smith: "I have never said independent chairman, never. It's about raising the bar for the boards across the game over a long period of time" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 7/25).