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NRL to introduce football department cap

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 1/09/2016 Steve Zemek
Chief executive Todd Greenberg © Brendon Thorne/Getty Images Chief executive Todd Greenberg

The NRL is to introduce a controversial cap on football club spending.

Chief executive Todd Greenberg revealed the radical equalisation measure had been agreed to in principle by all 16 clubs after a meeting of chief executives at Rugby League Central on Thursday.

When first announced, the cap on how much clubs spend on head coaches, football department staff, sports science and high performance units, was met with stiff opposition.

However it now appears likely to be rubber stamped.

"It's been negotiated and the 16 clubs have agreed to a football department cap," Greenberg said.

"It's just the mechanics and specifics of how it works."

The cap was one of the terms put forward by the NRL when negotiating its licensing and whole-of-game funding agreement with clubs.

The governing body is in the process of negotiating perpetual licences, which will kill off any future chance of a Super League-style breakaway competition.

In return, clubs negotiated a greater slice of the new $1.8 billion television deal which will deliver an extra $100 million in funding and annual grants equal to 130 per cent of player payments from 2018-2022.

The NRL is seeking to bridge a $10 million gulf between the haves and have-nots of the competition in terms of football department spending.

It also wants to diminish the likelihood of some clubs squandering annual grants.

Some of the code's richer clubs on Thursday expressed concern the cap would unfairly punish them for good management and stifle innovation.

However Melbourne chief executive Dave Donaghy said he supported the measure because clubs would be forced into making shrewd decisions.

"We support that," Donaghy said.

"The greatest risk is that it could bring more money into the game.

"A lot of money is invested into the football department and if that's not done wisely it can certainly challenge your sustainability."

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