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News adamant commission rolling on

By David Beniuk 28/07/2010 07:45:06 PM Comments (0)

Half-owners of the NRL, News Ltd, say there is no hold-up in the move towards an independent commission - at least not from their end.

Reports emerged in recent days that fed-up NRL clubs would seek to boycott the end-of-season Four Nations tournament in protest at what they see as the glacial progress towards the commission.

The tournament - featuring Australia, New Zealand, England and Papua New Guinea - is managed by the Australian Rugby League, the other 50 per cent stakeholder in the NRL.

Reports have suggested momentum towards the formation of the AFL-style commission, which clubs want in place by November 1, has stalled because of the Queensland Rugby League's opposition to the proposed model.

This is despite the NSWRL-dominated ARL board and News Ltd agreeing to a model whereby all 16 clubs, the NSWRL and QRL would get a vote each in determining the eight commissioners.

ARL chief executive Geoff Carr said on Tuesday talks had continued on the formation of the new body and News say there is no hold-up with them.

"It certainly wouldn't have stalled from our perspective or on our behalf," News spokesman Greg Baxter told AAP.

"We are committed to helping everybody set up this thing by the first of November so, as far as we're concerned, it's all systems go.

"There's certainly no hold-up at our end.

"If people want us to attend meetings in relation to any issues we would do so with alacrity."

Baxter said News was aware of the concerns of the QRL, who argue the ARL should have half the votes for commissioners.

"We don't agree with those concerns. We don't think that what they want will result in a truly independent commission," he said.

"We are committed to the path that we are on that the clubs and the ARL have discussed many times and agreed upon already."

He said the salary cap scandal which has engulfed the Melbourne Storm, owned by News, had not changed the negotiations.

"As far as we're concerned the Storm issue is quite separate and the importance of having the Storm in Melbourne I don't think changes as a result of the salary-cap breaches," Baxter said.

Meanwhile, Rugby League Players Association boss David Garnsey has met with representatives of NRL clubs to spell out his demands for a new collective bargaining agreement.

Among them are an increase in the salary cap to $4.5 million, big increases to payments for representative football and increased prize money for finals.

"It was good because we had a chance actually to talk some nitty gritty for the first time," Garnsey told AAP.

"There's no pulling down the shutters straight away ... they understand the reasons why we're putting forward the arguments we are and I don't think they see it as some sort of mindless, ambit claim.

"They've taken it in that spirit. It then becomes a question of whether they are actually achievable financially, politically, whatever else needs to happen that way.

"There's certainly some positive signs but we've got a lot of work to do."

A short-term deal is a strong possibility with another to be negotiated after the NRL's next television deal, with the current rights expiring at the end of 2012.

NRL clubs will look to Friday's chief executives meeting to come up with a workable salary-cap agreement for next year as they look to finalise playing rosters.

Brought to you by AAP AAP © 2024 AAP

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