NRL stars question how execs escape harsh pay cuts
NRL stars have called on Peter V'landys to explain if it is fair that NRL executives only get a 25 per cent wage reduction on future earnings while players will be 72 per cent out of pocket as part of the landmark pay deal designed to save the game.
The players have been set up as the punching bags these last few weeks amid the financial fallout caused by the coronavirus, but now they are fighting back.
Million dollar stars like Daly Cherry-Evans and Cameron Smith stand to drop at least $400,000 between now and November as part of the $40 million rescue package to save clubs, yet administrators who are responsible for the game's dire financial predicament will be down just over half of that portion.
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The topic came up in a conference hook up with Rugby League Players Association chief executive Clint Newton last night, along with talk that there could be a 40 per cent cut to the salary cap for next season.
There was significant animosity between the players and ARL Commission chairman V'landys and Todd Greenberg at a marathon meeting on Sunday.
Newton conceded serious questions were asked of the game's governance.
Asked specifically if it was fair the NRL executives are only getting a 25 per cent pay cut when the players were losing 40 per cent on their annual salary, and 72 per cent for the next seven months, Newton was diplomatic: "I think that is a question for Peter and the commission really, like, around whether they believe that is fair.
"At the moment our main responsibility and priority is to secure a deal that protects the players' immediate future based on what is available."
It is a situation not of V'landys' making given he only took over as chairman from Peter Beattie late last year.
The Sunday session opened V'landys to just how much resentment there is between the players and the NRL executives.
But on Monday night he wasn't about to hang his staff out to dry.
"All I can say is I can't change the past, my focus is on the future," V'landys said.
"I can understand that the players have frustrations at the moment but we are in a position where we have to try and work our way out of the problems we face as a game. There is no use looking back."
If not for V'landys, the players would have got a lot less than the two-and-a-half months of full salaries they have now been promised.
It is understood the NRL was initially attempting to low-ball the players with an offer of $12.4 million before V'landys got wind of it and almost doubled it by cutting back on ridiculous NRL costs.
Newton conceded there was a lot of work to be done to win back the players' trust.
The RLPA was last night reviewing the proposal and will meet with the NRL again today to seek more clarity.
Newton was taken aback by talk the salary cap could cop a 40 per cent hair cut next season.
"We need to understand what is coming into the game and then what the players' share of that is," Newton said.
"But what we have got an opportunity to do now is what are the distribution models and has the current one worked?
"And you would have to suggest that is something that needs to be reviewed."
V'landys at least showed the long days and relentless showdowns hadn't ruined his sense of humour.
"I thought he was a second-rower, not a five-eighth," V'landys laughed.
Originally published as Stars question how execs escape harsh pay cuts