The Herald has been told several prominent Sydney club powerbrokers were pushing for the NRL to target Rabbitohs chief executive Blake Solly, who has been mentioned in recent weeks as a possible alternative to Greenberg.
But Rabbitohs sources have indicated Solly, a former general manager of the English Super League, is hellbent on overseeing his club’s transition after Shane Richardson left as football club chief. Wayne Bennett will also hand over the head coaching reins to Jason Demetriou at the end of 2021.
Abdo, a close confidant of V’landys, will potentially have the inside running for the role after being elevated to the position and is expected to audition until late in the year.
The South African-born executive travelled with V’landys to the United States recently to discuss the code’s broadcast rights with Silicon Valley tech giants and has helped increase the NRL’s annual revenue upwards of $500 million.
Racing NSW chief executive V’landys told News Corp last month he had no interest in taking on an executive chairman role before the COVID-19 shutdown laid the game’s brittle finances bare.
“I think that’s probably a role he should look at taking – I hope he does,” Phil Gould told Nine.
White, who has indicated his tenure at the Broncos is nearing an end, is thought to have impressed V’landys while Donaghy has helped the Storm turn into a commercial force to match its sustained on-field success.
Accor Hotels chief Simon McGrath, a rugby league fanatic who has previously been mooted as an NRL chief executive, will also be in the mix while New South Wales Rugby League boss David Trodden has been flagged as a contender.
Greenberg had a six-month notice period built into his contract, believed to be upwards of $1 million per year, which was due to expire at the end of October.
His position was hanging by a thread before the coronavirus crisis hit, which many thought would provide him a stay of execution until the end of the season.
But after rights holders Nine, the publisher of this masthead, lashed the code’s mismanagement of finances and accused it of housing a “bloated head office” under Greenberg’s watch, his fate was almost sealed.
He was then frozen out of crucial talks with Nine and Foxtel over the competition structure for 2020. He was captured by Nine news ducking out of Racing NSW’s Druitt Street headquarters on Monday.
In a Broncos statement, White praised Greenberg for his contribution to rugby league.
“The role of CEO of the NRL is tough and at times uncompromising and no doubt takes both a professional and personal toll,” he said.
“In tough times, Todd has always conducted himself with both dignity and composure when under pressure. The Broncos organisation thank Todd for his contribution to the game and we wish him and his family all the best in the future.”
Adam Pengilly is a Sports reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.