NRL will slam offenders to keep sponsors - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL will slam offenders to keep sponsors

By Liam FitzGibbon 22/05/2009 05:46:55 PM Comments (0)

NRL chief executive David Gallop is confident sponsors will stick by the game through the current spate of off-field incidents, but has warned future troublemakers face heavy punishment.

Sponsors have put the NRL on notice to clean up its act after a raft of scandals recently.

Cronulla's major sponsor LG Electronics announced on Thursday they would not renew their $750,000 a year deal at season's end, while some of the game's biggest backers, Aussie Home Loans and Telstra, have also been reconsidering their support.

Gallop met Aussie Home Loans' founder John Symond on Friday and the company agreed to continue its sponsorship of the State of Origin series.

But the NRL boss said Aussie, and all the game's sponsors, remained concerned and wanted assurance players would be made responsible for their actions.

"Pleasingly John and his team see the fit for his company and the millions of people that follow rugby league," Gallop said.

"But we certainly agree that there are issues that are of concern to Aussie and their association with the game and we agree that our clubs and our players need to be accountable for their actions."

Gallop warned players who continued to misbehave were putting the game's future at risk and would be dealt with severely.

"Our players should not need any reminding that if anything further happens to damage the reputation of the game, then the pressure to deal with that heavily will be intense," he said.

Gallop said the NRL remained in daily contact with its sponsors, including Telstra - which has ordered a review of its $12 million sponsorship - but was confident the game could overcome its challenges.

"We've been in dialogue with Telstra, communicating to them on a daily basis and demonstrating to them - I would hope - that our resolve is strong to remain on top of these issues," he said.

"I've got great faith in rugby league.

"We saw another brilliant round of footy last weekend, but we have got some challenges ahead of us and hopefully we get on top of those and people continue what has so far been a brilliant season."

Meanwhile, Gallop said the NRL would most likely meet the financially-embattled Sharks on Monday to discuss their future.

He said the club now had until then to table an explanation over allegations made in a Fairfax media report this week.

The report said the club had paid $20,000 to former community liaison officer Jenny Hall, who was accidentally hit in the face by Sharks' chief executive Tony Zappia.

A 'please-explain' will also be sought for Wednesday's revelation that former Test forward Reni Maitua had failed a drugs test.

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