NRL’s request for stadium funds to fall on deaf ears


The Herald has learnt the Premier’s office doesn’t see things that way.

While V’landys is yet to actually pitch his plan to the Premier, government sources suggest it will fall on deaf ears when the ARL commissioner does get his chance.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian.Credit:AAP

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last week the NRL was not high on the government’s priority list. That sentiment was echoed by the state government behind closed doors.

State government sources say the re-allocation of funds, at this stage, is unlikely – primarily because refurbishing a stadium of that size would provide a timely influx of jobs when NSW needs them most.

If there was to be a re-allocation of funds down the track, sources suggested it would not be used to save sports. It would likely be used for increased NSW Health resources as part of an additional stimulus.

If that is the case, it will leave V’landys and the NRL little choice but to pursue Morrison and the federal government for grants or loans to help the game survive.

The Herald yesterday detailed the dire financial situation Sydney-based clubs were facing, having already lost a combined $12 million in their last available annual reports.

That situation will become markedly worse now there is reason to believe the season may not start again in 2020.

Clubs have already started telling staff to take annual leave. If they don’t have annual leave, unpaid leave will kick in.

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Bulldogs coach Dean Pay, Sharks coach John Morris, Panthers coach Ivan Cleary, Knights coach Adam O’Brien and Cowboys coach Paul Green have already been stood down.

Penrith, Cronulla and Canterbury have been three of the hardest hit clubs.

The Bulldogs had to put 400 staff across the football and leagues club on leave, the Panthers have forecast a financial blow of close to $40 million if games are not played again this season, and the Sharks have been under financial duress for years.

The NRL has guaranteed clubs they will be paid their next scheduled payment of $1.25 million each on Wednesday but once the $70m in League Central’s coffers dry up, Morrison and the federal government may be the only hope the NRL has of keeping all 16 clubs afloat.

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