Leilua questions NRL’s financial ability as players face pay cut


“We [the Tigers players] are like, I better not be taking a cut, because we’ve got mortgages to pay and bills to pay,” Leilua said. “I’m not all for that if we have to get a pay cut … I’m sure there is some money in there, in the revenue we’ve got.

“They [the NRL] should be saving money for if something like this happens.

“I thought they were handling their money better, but if they say we’re going to last three months, we’re in trouble.”

On Monday, NRL boss Todd Greenberg said there would be the “potential” for players to keep the game afloat.

There is a ‘force majeure’ clause in the collective bargaining agreement struck between the NRL and the RLPA that requires the parties to renegotiate terms if revenues decrease by $10 million in any year of the deal.

V’landys pleaded with the government on Monday to include the NRL as part of the $17 billion economic coronavirus stimulus.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison later stated the NRL was “not high on the priority list”.

Asked whether he believed the government should provide funds to help keep the game afloat, Leilua appeared sceptical but said he didn’t want to get in strife from head office.

“If I was a normal average person, working a normal job … we are the entertainers of this country and NRL in Australia if we don’t play … I don’t know. I don’t know what to say. I might get in trouble. Todd [Greenberg] might not pay me,” Leilua said.

In the RLPA video, the union also raised the prospect of staggering a reduction in wages over several seasons rather than forcing players to accept a huge drop in 2020 salaries.

“The CBA does require the RLPA and the NRL to discuss and agree on any reduction based on the revenues being significantly reduced. Any reduction in player payments and benefits need to be agreed with us. Player salaries would be the last thing we look to reduce,” Newton said in the video.

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“There are other areas we may look to draw upon, such as injury hardship fund, marketing pool, retirement account and representative payments to help offset any downturn in the revenue.

“We can also look at reducing future payments such as the salary cap in ensuing years. We don’t have to necessarily take all the money out in one year or we may look to defer player benefits down the line.

“If the reduction in the revenues are significant, the players will need to share in that. But it’s important to remember that it’s only our portion of that percentage – clubs, states and NRL will also share in any losses.”

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