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Grant to go, ARLC to undergo shake-up

NZN 7/06/2017 Matt Encarnacion and Warren Barnsley

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) will be on the search for a new chairman with inaugural John Grant announcing he won't re-apply for the role next February.

But Grant's decision to leave the penthouse is just the tip of the iceberg, with the ARLC set to undergo its biggest upheaval since its inception five years ago.

The eight-seat commission - down to six after the resignation of two members in February - could be increased to 10 next week when the NRL meets club chairs.

League central is undergoing a recruitment process to replace the departures of Graeme Samuel and Jeremy Sutcliffe earlier this year.

However, should the commission changes be rubber-stamped, the extra places are likely to fall to club and state representatives that could spell the end of numerous financial disputes.

Grant's tenure has long been underpinned by a bitter funding war with clubs, some of which have been pushing for his removal, after the game's record broadcast deal in 2015.

The disharmony led to a push for constitutional reform, which Grant hinted was likely to be given the go-ahead in a statement made on his impending exit.

"For some weeks, I have deliberated on the changing face of the commission, post-constitutional reform, should that occur this year, and the need for a succession plan for the role of chairman," Grant said on Wednesday.

"All well-run organisations need time to properly plan for the future and my decision, at this time, assists this.

"In the months between now and February, there is a lot to be done and I look forward to continuing to lead the game as chairman and applying all my energy to dealing with the many opportunities and challenges that are before us."

Grant remained confident the governing body would resolve its dispute with clubs, sparked when he pulled a funding deal that had been agreed in-principle in late 2015.

Under the deal, clubs were to be funded at 130 per cent of the salary cap from 2018. However, a deal is yet to be struck and the salary cap beyond this season remains unknown.

Last December, Grant survived the axe from ARLC stakeholders at an emergency general meeting when he struck a peace deal that went close to matching the original offer.

He is also believed to have recently been at loggerheads with NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg after revelations the game has in a cashflow crisis.

Grant is a former Australian representative and has a background in the IT industry.

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