Furious Gallop slams commission 'nonsense' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Furious Gallop slams commission 'nonsense'

David Beniuk 31/01/2011 08:06:43 PM Comments (0)

Furious NRL boss David Gallop has slammed as "nonsense" speculation News Ltd is now responsible for delays in the move towards an independent commission to run rugby league.

A report on Monday suggested News was holding out in an attempt to secure one last favourable television deal for the network it partly owns, Fox Sports, before it exited its 50 per cent of the NRL.

Such a move would threaten the $1 billion figure which it has been speculated rugby league, a proven ratings winner, could earn from a new deal beginning in 2013.

The flow-on from that would be less than anticipated increases in the NRL's salary cap and, potentially, the continuing loss of stars such as Karmichael Hunt and Israel Folau to big-spending rival codes.

The report suggested club chairmen were unnerved by suggestions of another delay and were planning an urgent meeting to discuss their next move.

"Everyone, including News Ltd, want to see the television rights negotiated after News Ltd exit their 50 per cent ownership in the game," Gallop told AAP.

"It is only those that chose not to call me for clarification who have suggested otherwise.

"There's not going to be a television negotiation until (the commission) happens so that's a nonsense."

League insiders have suggested an NRL club disgruntled at a recent salary cap decision are behind the report.

Formal negotiations on the new TV deal are on hold until a commission begins operations.

Delays on its set-up have prompted fears the AFL will profit at the NRL's expense, the report said.

The AFL's rights expire a year before rugby league's, but Gallop said that was not a factor.

"The fact is the networks recognise the ratings that rugby league secures and they've all expressed interests in our rights," he said.

News Ltd dismissed any suggestion it was now responsible for a delay in the switchover, after previous slow progress had been blamed on the Queensland Rugby League.

"It will happen as soon as it can happen," News spokesman Greg Baxter told AAP.

"We've got no interest in it being delayed but equally we've got no interest in it being rushed to the point where it's not done properly.

"Setting up an organisation like this takes a lot of time.

"We're comfortable with the track that it's on and we're not interested in holding the thing up but I couldn't speculate on when it might all come together."

Baxter said News would play no part in broadcast negotiations.

Meanwhile South Sydney chairman Nick Pappas, a member of the committee examining a 128-name "shortlist" of potential commissioners, said that task would not hold up the commission.

"From News, from the ARL, from the clubs, the aim is to work speedily on finalising those names," he told AAP.

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