NRL & RLPA confirm CBA changes for 2011

The National Rugby League and the Rugby League Players’ Association have agreed to a 12-month extension of the existing Collective Bargaining Agreement, after settling on variations that have the capacity to deliver players an extra $8 million in benefits in 2011.

Players in this week’s Four Nations Final will share in a 25% increase in the tournament winning bonus and a 33% increase in the runners up bonus, amounting to a $240,000 increase for players involved in this week’s final.

The 12-month extension of the 2007-2010 CBA allows both the NRL and RLPA to carry out longer term negotiations in an environment where there is greater certainty around the game’s long term broadcasting revenues. Broadcasting negotiations are likely to take place next year and are expected to significantly increase Rugby League’s revenue base.

“This is a sensible outcome for all parties and it is one in which the NRL has ensured that the players benefit from the increased revenues developed in the last twelve months,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.

“We have always maintained that as we grow the NRL’s revenue streams, we will ensure better funding for the clubs and in turn the players.

“We have gone to some length to take on board the Association’s views, which has in itself necessitated a lengthy process.

“Certainly we are optimistic of significant growth in the next couple of years and we believe we are in a strong position to deliver that outcome.

Rugby League Players’ Association Chief Executive, Mr David Garnsey, said today that the interim agreement represented a significant step forward for the players.

“The NRL has accepted the RLPA’s representations on a number of key issues and we note that the decision to bring representative payment increases into this year’s Four Nations Tournament has been one of those.

“Importantly, the Interim CBA is about more than just money for the top players, although that is certainly something that is warranted and necessary for retaining our top talent in Rugby League.

“We have ensured that there are some important safeguards introduced in areas such as termination payments and the non-warehousing of players, as well as increasing the minimum wage levels.

“There is a clear recognition in this agreement that players deserve to be paid appropriately for the growing revenues they bring to the game and we will be maintaining that principle as the next round of broadcasting rights are negotiated.”

Key points of the Interim CBA include:
An immediate increase in representative payments of over $1.1m (see table below)

Increases to the Salary Cap and Cap Allowances that will give clubs the opportunity to lift regulated player benefits to the Top 25 by a total of $5.6m across the 16 teams with the effective benefits available to players at each club rising to $4.7m (including player retirement/RLPA contributions), an increase of $350,000:
- A direct salary cap increase of $100,000 to $4.1m
- A further increase of $100,000 in the Veteran Player Allowance to $200,000 per club
- More flexibility for clubs in their use of the Veteran Player Allowance by no longer restricting it to 50% of the value of an individual contract
- The Marquee Player Allowance to be doubled from $150,000 to $300,000 per club
- Marquee Player Allowance now available to all players in the Top 25 (previously limited to top 10 players only and $50,000 per player)
- Clubs allowed to underwrite the Marquee Player Allowance (previously restricted from doing so)
- Exemption for Salary Cap purposes of family travel for defined milestone games including: NRL debut match, 100 NRL matches, 150 NRL matches, 200 NRL matches, 250 NRL matches, 300 NRL matches
- Guarantee of 50% of Telstra Premiership’s $400,000 Grand Final prize-money to be paid to the players by the club. This payment does not impact on the club’s Salary Cap
- In addition to the above increases clubs will be able to exempt the provision of three cars from the Salary Cap calculations
- Greater clarity and consistency around injury termination provisions.
- An obligation on Clubs to provide contracted players with a reasonable opportunity to train and play, regardless of their future contractual arrangements
- An agreement to pursue more tax-effective licensing of player image rights

Within the agreed Salary Cap increases clubs have agreed to improved safeguards for players with the following alterations to the minimum wage:
- Players 1-17: increase by $5,000 to $60,000
- Players 18-25: increase from $52,500 to $55,000
- Match payments for players outside the Top 25 rise by $1,000 to $3,000.

State of Origin
State of Origin - Direct per Match
$7,500
$12,000
$4,000
State of Origin - Rep player retirement account contribution
$5,000
$8,000
$3,000
$12,500
$20,000
$7,500
May Test
Test Payment - Direct
$3,000
$5,400
$2,400
Test Payment - Rep player retirement account contribution
$3,000
$3,600
$600
$6,000
$9,000
$3,000
Four Nations - Tournament Winner
Four Nations Payment - Direct
$10,000
$15,000
$5,000
Four Nations Payment - Rep player retirement account contribution
$10,000
$10,000
-
$20,000
$25,000
$5,000
Four Nations - Tournament Runners Up
Four Nations Payment - Direct
$7,500
$12,000
$4,500
Four Nations Payment - Rep player retirement account contribution
$7,500
$8,000
$500
$12,500
$15,000
$2,500

*New Zealand has matched the Four Nations payments under this agreement

The above increases represent the following percentage increases in payments:
- Origin – 60% lift per game
- May Test – 50% lift per game
- Four Nations – 25% lift for the tournament winner and a 33% lift in payments for the second placed team.

The Representative Player Retirement Fund is distributed to players who finish their playing careers in Rugby League or at least remain in Rugby League until the age of 30.

*Please note that the Total Club Remuneration per club regulated under the Salary Cap rules for 2011 is made up of: Salary Cap of $4.1m for The Top 25 players; $200,000 long serving player allowance; $300,000 marque player allowance; $100,000 payment player retirement fund/RLPA payment; Unlimited payments through approved Third Party deals with corporate entities not associated with the club and not involving NRL intellectual property; unlimited approved payments for tertiary education, approved traineeships, medical insurance costs, relocation/temporary accommodation; $350,000 for players not in the top 25 who take part in the NRL.