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The NRL will sit down with all 16 clubs at next week’s CEOs conference to brainstorm ideas around the overhaul of the third-party arrangement system.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg doesn’t want to stop players from earning additional funds from outside of the sport, however he admitted the existing current system is flawed.
He also revealed a desire to address a potential transfer window after an off-season of unprecedented movement in the player market.
The number of third-party arrangements, which are meant to be at arm’s length from the clubs, have decreased over the past two years mainly as a result of the fear instilled following the salary cap scandal at the Parramatta Eels.
The TPA system is largely considered a blight on the game and fans have been calling for it to be scrapped to ensure more transparency surrounding contracts and additional payments made to players.
“We're going to talk very openly about the challenges of the current system and ways to improve it and then we're going to take some of those learnings to the RLPA who have also demonstrated in our CBA negotiations they're very open to looking at the TPA system,” Greenberg said.
“It's clear we need change, it's clear we can evolve and modernise TPAs. I'm really, really encouraged by our profile players in the game being able to earn extra income outside of their contract fee. When I see Billy Slater on a billboard in Melbourne promoting a company, it's a good thing for Billy and a great thing for the game.
“So we need to balance our expectations about our elite athletes and stars in the game continuing to derive additional income, which also sets them up for their careers after football against some of the challenges the current system has. I hope we'll spend a few months at the beginning of this year finding ways to come up with a new system.”
The TPA discussion is high on the agenda of next week’s CEOs conference, however Greenberg isn’t sure what the ideal replacement system should look like.
“I don't, but I know some of the challenges with the current one though,” Greenberg said.
“When I talk to people who have issues with TPAs, I hear a lot of problems but I don't hear a lot of solutions. That happens quite often in the game.
“I think the club CEOs want to have a strong voice in this and I'm looking forward to having a discussion with them next week. Ian Prendergast and the RLPA have been very good and very open about the concept of change.”
Another big talking point over the off-season has been in regards to the number of players being released or asking for a release from their contracts with their respective clubs.
“There has been a lot of player movement which has created a lot of content for people and debate for fans,” Greenberg said.
“But I also understand the flip side that fans get disillusioned when players are leaving. The short answer is we have an agreement with the RLPA to consider other options for the transfer window. If we go back in history the game has changed a number of times without maybe finding the perfect solution. In saying that I'm not sure there's a silver bullet without a perfect solution, but we will look at it again this year.
“I'm really open to haveing discussions with both the players and clubs about this. The players enjoy free trade agreements under their CBA and that's a good thing for players.”
When I talk to people who have issues with TPAs, I hear a lot of problems but I don't hear a lot of solutions.
Hang on a minute there Todd, the NRL introduced this system, it's solely your responsibility to fix it. You've had ample opportunity to do something and you've done nothing, mainly because the Player Manager's you promised an investigation into about 2 years ago have you bent over a barrel from your Bulldog days. Of course nothing has happened there. Now you finally admit there's a problem publically and make a statement that you haven't heard any solutions. Your actions and words once again remind us that you are so far out of your depth it's laughable. How about making TPA's transparent for a change rather than hiding them? How about just calling an amnesty period and scrapping them once and for all? I've heard and read numerous opinions on a solution, yet you apparently haven't. Absolute disgrace of a CEO.
“I don’t see a lot of solutions” Hold up mate you just said you won’t stop it. How about you stop it
If you’re not hearing solutions you’re not listening you dumbass.
The first thing and most important thing is transparency.
All player’s wages and registered TPA’s must be published. This will instantly highlight any discrepancies that clubs and the NRL can’t hide from.
It also makes it very black and white when it comes to clubs cheating. If it’s not registered for all to see then it’s cheating. Pretty simple.
This isn’t hard you politician. That’s if you’re actually serious about fixing it.....which you aren’t.
PS: He refers to Billy Slater on a billboard which was the original intention of the TPA program. But show me 3 more examples of an NRL player being used in a legitimate and transparent third party way. Almost all 3rd partiy agreements are nothing more than donations from fans (non-sponsors) of a club to top up player’s wages. Which is cheating the salary cap pure and simple.
Spot on muttman. The thing is if my company wants to have Jarryd Hayne promote our products why the feck should that even go on his clubs tap / cap. That is just outside of the sport sponsorship nothing to do with his club. But your right it’s because it is usually a donation from a fan within the clubs, the nrl created this bs tpa after the storm salary cap disaster so if anyone questioned a teams salary cap they could simply say it’s all tpas and now they want to fix it...assclowns
HiSpot on muttman. He's a politician, you know that when he avoids the easy option and looks to someone else to come up with a more complex solution.
Bang on re Slater too, we get the Broncos up here plastered all over NRMA ads, must be doing them for free because NRMA is a major sponsor so surely any paid appearances would be a salary cap breach???
I did a little research after driving past that billboard turns out that company Billy Slater was on the billboard for doesn't really exist... It is some shell company with hq in the Caymen islands probably owned by news ltd .
Simple fact is that TPAs should not form any part of the playing contract (ie the manager should get off his/her fat ass and get a deal from a genuine TP - like the mentioned Slater billboard). The NRL should still look at the TP deals to ensure no BS deals are done.
That would cause $$ in footy contracts to be very close to market value as only the very elite (and marketable) players would actually get a TPA.
Funny thing is one of the few players who would get legitimate TPAs sourced on his own and would be so because he came back to the eels where he has a name brand the K*** Kent was a prima Donna and was making it out we were cheating the cap or something . Publish salaries , publish TPA or at player level or at a minimum at club level
So what's the solution?
Scrapping them or having increased transparency (they're already declared and registered yeah?) won't actually stop a club/interested party with the means to enter into an undisclosed arrangement.
And these can be easily hid (unless your Sharp or Seward).
You cap it, ban it - doesn't stop people finding a way, on the quiet.
Say tomorrow your appointed NRL CEO, what are you going to do? You need a way to keep stars in the game, competing with the big dollars on offer elsewhere. But also keep club spending on players in check to ensure club viability. How do you police every conversation, deal that might be struck - you don't know what you don't know.
About the only thing available to you is to say anyone caught cheating the system will be banned for life. That, and introducing a draft to spread the talent.
Transparency is the answer. Here’s why.
Agreed you’ll never stop people cheating. The stakes are high so people will inevitably cheat.
But with complete transparency it also has to pass the public’s opinion and journalist interrogation as well.
There’s absolutely no transparency currently. None. It’s all hidden between NRL and club.
With complete transparency we’d see cheats from a mile away.
Eg) Imagine if Cam Smith was officially being paid say $500k on the cap and $200k TPA’s??? Everyone would call that out. There’s no way that could be all he’s earning. It would be impossible to hide.
Currently no one knows who is paid what. We’re meant to believe Greenberg is across it all and everything is above board. The public has lost total faith in the cap and rightly so.
I think a list of who's getting paid what on the cap and opening that up to public scrutiny is a great idea. I'd love to see the lists of all clubs. But I don't see it happening.
It does raise the sticky business of setting a players market value, how it's calculated and the NRL's authority to insist so much must be on the cap.
But I imagine players, the RLPA and club CEO's alike will be against the idea.
I'm not defending Greenberg here but no CEO or administration will last 5 minutes if they go full autocrat. You'll have mass revolt, that is rugby league.