ARL rejects Hunt's 'loyalty fund' claim - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

ARL rejects Hunt's 'loyalty fund' claim

By Wayne Heming 05/08/2009 05:35:26 PM Comments (0)

ARL chief executive Geoff Carr says Karmichael Hunt forfeited his right to a share of the representative players' retirement fund when he "sold himself to the highest bidder outside rugby league".

The 22-year-old Brisbane fullback stunned the sporting world last week when he announced he would be switching from the NRL to join the AFL's new Gold Coast franchise.

Hunt's manager David Riolo said on Wednesday he will investigate whether his client is entitled to the reported $60,000 he put into the retirement fund in compulsory contributions through percentages of match fees from his 10 State of Origins and 11 Tests.

The fund was set up when the collective bargaining agreement was nutted out in 2006, and was designed as a loyalty incentive to help keep players in rugby league in the face of raids from rugby union.

"As I recall when it was set up the rule was that if you leave rugby league, not just go to rugby union, you don't get the money," ARL chief executive Carr told AAP on Wednesday.

"They (AFL) are paying Karmichael a million dollars a year, he should be satisfied with what he's getting."

"How he would expect to get the money after turning his back on the game is disrespectful."

Trustees administering the fund would rule on any claim made on Hunt's behalf.

If unsuccessful, his share would be re-distributed among other players who finish their careers still playing in the code.

Hunt will be paid $37,500 later this month for helping the Maroons to a history-making 2-1 fourth straight series.

But half of that $37,500 will go into the retirement fund, following the rules set out in the CBA.

Riolo said he believed Hunt should be paid the money owed because of his "unique" situation.

"Karmichael is completely changing professions rather than just going to a competing code and there's an argument he should receive his full representative payments," Riolo told Rugby League Week.

However Carr disputed whether there was ever a differentiation about which code they went to, saying it was always about keeping players in rugby league.

"Karmichael has sold himself to the highest bidder outside of rugby league so it's ridiculous they should attempt to get the money," he Carr.

"There's a separate trust set up to administer the pension fund and there are rules around the pension fund which I can't recall.

"Karmichael can apply to them, I'm not suggesting he can't.

"But to use the argument he is going to the AFL and not rugby union, I'm not sure that will stack up."

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