Where the money comes from may still be up in the air, but V’landys moved quickly to allay fears in club land that some clubs may be given more relief money than others.
The Herald spoke to some clubs in better financial positions that questioned why they should be punished for properly managing their bottom line in recent years.
“It’s going to continue to be even funding between the clubs,” V’landys said. “Any club that runs into trouble, we will look at giving them access to these loans.”
Any club that does find itself facing financial ruin will, however, be subject to due diligence from League Central. If they are found to be mismanaging their funds in the most dire of times, the ARLC reserves the right to block their access to the line of credit.
“If a club is going out there and being reckless, that’s another story,” V’landys said. “I’m not saying they will be – that’s just an example – but that has to be determined by the commission.
“We will do what anyone else would do, we will do our due diligence to ensure they haven’t got an underlying problem.
“You don’t want to be giving someone money when they have an underlying problem.”
While the ARLC will look leniently at the books of struggling clubs given the crisis that has gripped sport across the world couldn’t have been envisaged, V’landys did say the pandemic had exposed the inefficient cost structure at League Central and clubs.
“One thing that has come out of the crisis – and there’s no doubt about this – is that the cost structure is not sustainable,” he said. “That’s for the whole game. Yes, the NRL needs to reduce its expenses, but the clubs have to as well.
“But we have said from day one we want to retain all 16 clubs and we want to keep the clubs viable – especially when it’s not their own fault. It’s a crisis.”
Sam is a sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.