An agreement about how club funding will work from 2018 when the new $1.8 billion broadcast deal commences involved concessions from both the NRL and the clubs and could also lead to governance changes for the Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC), NRL CEO Todd Greenberg says.
Addressing media after emerging from a seven-hour extraordinary general meeting between the ARLC and club chairs at Rugby League Central at Moore Park on Tuesday, Greenberg welcomed the eventual resolution as a good outcome for the game that reflected well on all parties.
"The clubs and the commission handled [the negotiations well] and I think each party gave up a little bit in order to get a deal and that's a good outcome," Greenberg said.
The protracted negotiations led to an outcome around club funding but final numbers would not become clear until a collective bargaining agreement with the players association is finalised sometime early in 2017 – which will also determine the proportion of broadcast rights money allocated to the salary cap.
"We won't know the salary cap because we haven’t done the collective bargaining agreement with the players but what [Monday's agreement] tells you is clubs are funded better than they’ve ever been and the grass roots of the game will receive better funding than at any time in the game's history. That’s a good outcome for everyone across the game," Greenberg said.
"The players deserve to get a significant uplift, and they'll get that. We'll always pay across the game what's fair and reasonable and the players are in that basket."
While specifics are not yet known, Greenberg confirmed clubs will definitely receive a percentage above the salary cap. The current salary cap increases to $7 million for the 2017 season but is expected to jump significantly for 2018 with the influx of broadcast rights cash, each club could potentially receive an annual grant of around $10 million.
"There's an agreement that’s binding on the parties that will determine how that will work," Greenberg added.
The conclusion of negotiations would mean ARLC Chairman John Grant will stay on in the role with no set end date to his tenure – but Greenberg also flagged a possible change to the governance of the ARLC when the respective parties sit down again in the new year.
"We agreed that in the new year we would sit down together and consider governance reform and that may mean a change in the way the commission is structured. We'll do that together and that was one of the outcomes," Greenberg said.
"[The ARLC] opened their minds to what it could look like in the future. There's been an undertaking that in the new year the clubs and the commission will sit down with an independent review by John Coates and well see if there's a better way. That is likely to happen in January or February," he added.