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NRL and clubs fail to reach funding deal

NZN 23/11/2016 Steve Zemek

The NRL's relationship with clubland has reached its lowest ebb in years with four chairmen walking out of Wednesday's meeting with the game's governing body.

A dangerous rift opened up after North Queensland's Laurence Lancini, Cronulla's Damian Keogh, Canterbury's Ray Dib and Melbourne's Bart Campbell stormed out of a meeting of the game's heavy hitters at Rugby League Central after just 30 minutes.

It is understood the move came after the governing body took off the table a proposal to fund clubs 130 per cent of the salary cap from 2018 onwards.

The NRL, represented by ARL commission chairman John Grant and chief executive Todd Greenberg, reasoned it should concentrate on the collective bargaining agreement and setting the salary cap before tackling club funding.

According to the NRL, there was little point negotiating club funding as a proportion of the salary cap while it was unknown how much the salary cap would be.

Last December, the NRL and its clubs agreed in principle to that increased funding in exchange for signing perpetual licences, which would eliminate the possibility of a Super League-style breakaway competition.

However, clubs have since baulked at proposed terms including that they contribute to a sinking fund to bail out clubs going into receivership.

The NRL's inability to come to an agreement over the past 11 months has become a source of concern and frustration with some clubs.

Many club chairmen including Dib, Manly's Scott Penn and South Sydney's Nick Pappas declined to comment when leaving the meeting.

The NRL said the parties would come together again next week in a bid to break the stalemate.

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