NRL to dump anti-tampering deadline - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL to dump anti-tampering deadline

By David Beniuk 20/07/2006 07:34:51 PM Comments (0)

The NRL's clubs have officially agreed with what everybody else in rugby league already knew - that the anti-tampering deadline doesn't work and should be scrapped.

Club chief executives meeting in Sydney recommended the NRL board jettison the June 30 cut-off for negotiations with off-contract players, Parramatta's Denis Fitzgerald the only dissenting voice.

NRL chief executive David Gallop had called for the scrapping of the deadline earlier in the year after admitting attempts to police it had been largely ineffective.

"We're pleased with the response today which was a confirmation of the previous position that we don't want to try and police a rule around conversations between agents and clubs," Gallop said.

"Clubs pretty much unanimously supported that.

"The clear fact is that June 30 was not working and in practice I think the market in some ways has been operating without that rule for some time."

Chief executives of 15 NRL franchises, including the new Gold Coast Titans, backed a system which will force players negotiating with rival clubs to go back to their current club before signing with another team.

The controversial June 30 embargo will officially be canned at the next NRL board meeting.

Gallop said he would discuss the issue with the Rugby League Professionals Association before developing any firm recommendations.

He said the new set-up would take shape in the next few months.

"We don't believe it's urgent, the date's passed for this year and it'll technically still be there until it's removed by the board.

"But the overwhelming support today was to scrap the current rule and look at some other measures which give existing clubs a first and a last right to obtain their players.

"The fact is those clubs who develop large numbers of juniors can't keep them all, that's how we get an even playing field in our competition."

Several club chief executives backed the recent changes to the league's salary cap rules, which included raising the cap amount to $4 million and reducing the long-serving player allowance from 10 to eight years.

"We produce more local juniors than anyone and we accept that it is not going to be possible for us to keep them all," Penrith boss Mick Leary said in an NRL statement.

"When we talk of development it's about giving kids a start and bringing them into the game.

"While we certainly want to keep as many as we can, we also want to see those that we can't accommodate get opportunities elsewhere."

The club chiefs also endorsed a plan to have current players undergo referees training as a salary cap concession.

And Gallop said two thirds of NRL fans had indicated in surveys they would be interested in attending Monday night games, to be re-introduced in every round next year with a 7pm kick-off.

Two games will be played on a Friday, three on Saturday and two on Sunday.

Gallop said the Sunday afternoon traditional match time was not in danger of dying out.

"We'll still have two games but the fact is a movement towards night footy is what our fans are supporting at the moment," he said.

"So there'll be a nice balance we think and obviously we'll be looking to maintain a balance between Queensland and New South Wales in those time slots."

He backed the Monday matches to improve crowds, down around 10 per cent this season.

"I certainly think Monday nights are a good chance of being well supported but it's early days to be too down about crowds."

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