NRL has mismanaged game for years, says Nine in stunning broadside

Rugby league’s long-time broadcast partner Channel Nine has launched a stunning takedown of the NRL, seething about being left out of the planning for the restart of the competition and accusing the governing body of years of mismanagement and wastefulness.

The ARL Commission is due to receive a recommendation from the organisation’s Project Apollo innovation committee on Thursday about when and in which form the season should resume, with chairman Peter V’landys hopeful of a May 21 return.

The NRL’s long-time free-to-air broadcaster has hit out at the game’s powerbrokers.Credit:Getty Images

The NRL’s current agreements with Nine, Foxtel and Telstra, which began in 2018, run until 2022. Foxtel’s deal is worth about $1 billion, or $200m a year, while Nine signed up to pay a reported $625m over the life of the contract, or $125m a year.

Neither company paid their quarterly instalments last week after the competition was put on hold following advice from the NRL’s biosecurity expert.

The NRL has been rushing to get the season started again as the rate of infection decreases sharply in Australia, eager to have revenue from broadcasters pouring into the game again. It has stood down most of its staff and as costs are cut significantly across the game and chief executive Todd Greenberg has agreed to take the same 71 per cent pay cut as players.

Yet with Nine arguing for a new contract – and Foxtel also having told the NRL the value of its deal decreases if the season runs beyond October – there are tense negotiations ahead.

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