National Rugby League Club Chief Executives have today given their support for a $100,000 lift in the Salary Cap, a $150,000 lift in the Marquee Player Allowance over and above the cap and a further range of concessions proposed for 2011.<br><br>Clubs and players will also be given greater freedom in the use of their intellectual property.<br><br>The proposals follow a review of game-wide submissions on the Salary Cap and discussions with the Collective Bargaining Agreement sub-committee. The proposals are subject to NRL Board approval and further talks with the RLPA.<br><b><br>They include</b><br><br>· A lift in the Salary Cap of $100,000 to $4.2m;<br><br>· An increase in the Marquee Player Allowance (from $150,000 to $300,000);<br><br>· An exemption from the Salary Cap for the use of three cars per Club;<br><br>· A commitment to develop further rewards under the cap for long serving players;<br><br>· Increased representative payments;<br><br>· Greater responsibility on player agents;<br><br>· Relaxation of injury allowances;<br><br>· The opportunity for players to maximise their income by maximising tax structures around image rights;<br><br>· A commitment to introduce a system of travel concessions for the family members of players attending milestone games.<br><br>“The key message through all of this has been the importance that Clubs place on the Salary Cap system,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.<br><br>“It has been important to the success the game has enjoyed and continues to enjoy.<br><br>“What we have always looked for is ways to grow Rugby League’s revenue and to ensure that any growth is shared among the players.<br><br>“There are still areas to be determined through the Board and with the RLPA and there are issues that we will need to fine-tune.<br><br>“But the proposal for 2011 is that the Clubs will be receiving an extra $200,000 in 2011 and that the cap will increase by $100,000, the Marquee Player Allowance will increase beyond that and there will be an inevitable increase in representative payments.”<br><br>The current Marquee Player Allowance of $150,000 will be lifted to $300,000 with restrictions on the amount any one player can earn (currently $50,000) removed.<br><br>Whereas existing rules prevent Clubs from guaranteeing these payments in advance, the proposed changes would allow Clubs to guarantee Marquee Player Allowance agreements when signing a player and allow them to underwrite those agreements within the $300,000. Guarantees outside the $300,000, such as those reported at the Storm this year, will remain prohibited. <br><br>The $300,000 Marquee Player Agreement will, as per the existing guidelines, be outside of the Salary Cap of $4.2million per club in 2011 (with a further $100,000 per club invested in the RLPA and player retirement account).<br><br>Whereas the existing agreement requires the marquee player to be one of the top 10 highest paid players in the club, the changes would see the allowance open to one or more players in the top 15 (the total amount remains $300,000 whether allocated to one player or distributed across a number within the ‘15’).<br><br>Clubs would also be given more flexibility in providing the use of motor vehicles as benefits for players with three marquee players eligible to receive use of cars outside of the Salary Cap.<br><br>Player agents will also be required to sign declarations with every contract that attests to the fact that the contract includes all benefits, guarantees, payments, understandings or other remuneration to the player or his family.<br><br>There was significant debate on the best ways to grow rewards for long-serving players, including a milestone scheme that would see money paid into a retirement fund that would provide lump sum payouts upon retirement.<br><br>While there was commitment to supporting long-serving players, it was agreed that there should be further discussion with the Board, the Clubs and the RLPA on the most effective rewards beyond the existing $100,000 long-serving player allowance.<br><br>The Clubs today undertook that they had a contact person at each Club who players knew they could contact if there were any suggestions of racial vilification within their organisation.<br><br>The NRL already contributes towards a Welfare and Education position at each Club and through its Education and Welfare officer, Nigel Vagana, and has focused efforts on cultural support for players across all teams.<br><br>It first partnered the Australian Sports Commission in introducing cultural awareness training across all Clubs in 2005 and regularly highlights the Anti-Vilification Policy in presentations.<br><br>Cultural awareness training remains a key facet of all induction camps carried throughout the Toyota Cup camps each year.<br><br>The establishment of sport’s first Reconciliation Action Plan and the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council, along with both the Close the Gap Round and the Indigenous All Stars, underline an ongoing commitment to cultural issues.<br><br>“It’s not enough though to simply point to what we are doing,” Mr Gallop said.<br><br>“The fact that Timana Tahu has had to face the issues that he has means that we need to do more.<br><br>“The Chairman of the Australian Rugby League Indigenous Council, Smiley Johnstone, today undertook to carry out a review of all policies and procedures through the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission.<br><br>“The Council meets in Sydney on Thursday and is in the process of finalising the game’s second Reconciliation Action Plan.<br><br>“We will certainly be looking to them to provide feedback on the best ways forward for the game.<br><br>“The message in the meantime could not be clearer: there is no room for racism within the game and the support Timana has received has only served to highlight that.”<br><br>The Chief Executives also today sent a strong message to the ARL to set aside legal arguments over a proposed Independent Commission.<br><br>“All the Clubs have publicly agreed on the importance of having the Commission in place by November this year and they are unanimous in reinforcing that view today,” the Gold Coast’s Michael Searle said today.<br><br>“We need the arguments between the Queensland and NSW Rugby Leagues sorted out this week so that the process can get back on the rails.<br><br>“The QRL in particular needs to understand that it is acting against the interests of every club in the League and the stated position of the ARL.<br><br>“The game needs a truly independent commission and not a model that puts power in the hands of appointees by the QRL.<br><br>“We need a commission in place after the Grand Final and in time for the start of the 2011 financial year for Rugby League, which is November 1.”
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