Gallop defends NRL contract guidelines - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Gallop defends NRL contract guidelines

By Liam FitzGibbon 09/06/2008 07:24:30 PM Comments (0)

NRL boss David Gallop is standing firm on the league's controversial player contract guidelines despite some club bosses saying they are bad for the game.

The new rules came under fire after Penrith players Luke Lewis and Nathan Smith backed out of their deals to join South Sydney and Canberra respectively to stay with the Panthers.

Under the changes, any contracts signed are not processed until the end of round 13, which is Monday, meaning incumbent clubs effectively have the last crack at a player before the deadline.

It allowed Lewis and Smith to wriggle out of their deals, leaving the Raiders in particular angry and threatening legal action.

Gallop said the NRL would stick with the guidelines, saying the recent incidents had only occurred because involved parties did not understand them properly.

"It's a really simple, good rule, based on a sound principal which is that a player's existing club has a reasonable period to either sign the player or lose him to another club," Gallop said.

"It has caused drama because of a failure to either understand the rule or follow a simple process which would give certainty to all the parties."

Gallop said in negotiations, clubs should clarify whether the player would be released for the next season upon signing or whether they had to wait until after the round 13 deadline to see if the incumbent club has made an offer.

"It's frustrating to hear about player managers not knowing the rule," Gallop said.

"It always looks bad where a simple rule gets complicated by people failing to understand it."

The deadline was moved forward this year from June 30, after the anti-tampering deadline was dropped two years ago.

All clubs signed off on the changes but some club bosses believe the recent incidents highlight the flaws of the system.

Parramatta chief executive Denis Fitzgerald said the NRL should return to a system where there was "a set time to agree, you agree, then it's done and dusted."

"I'm still fiercely supportive of the old system, June 30th, it's far better than what this current ridiculous situation is," Fitzgerald said.

Brisbane chief executive Bruno Cullen said the recent incidents had looked "messy" but said the responsibility should come down to the players.

"I don't really support the current situation, but I think if a player agrees to terms to a club I think he's got to go through and play with them," Cullen said.

Sydney Roosters chief executive Brian Canavan said: "It does cause a bit of unrest when players are signing many, many months out from their current contract."

With the deadline approaching, clubs had one final chance to make offers to keep players who had agreed to go elsewhere in 2009.

It was speculated Parramatta could attempt to re-sign rising star Tony Williams, who agreed to a three-year deal with Manly, but Fitzgerald ruled it out, saying he would not fit under the salary cap.

Cullen said he had not been approached by Ben Hannant despite hearing rumours the prop may want to back out of his deal with the Bulldogs.

Gallop said he expected less incidences of players backing out of contracts as player managers became more familiar with the system.

"I think they've been educated now," Gallop said.

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