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The National Rugby League said today that the changes to the Anti-Siphoning list announced by the Federal Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy were a positive step for sport and for television viewers.

The NRL said that the changes would in no way affect Rugby League’s philosophy of ensuring high quality games are available on free to air television each week but that it would assist Rugby League in recouping the full value of its television rights and bargaining for broader free to air coverage.

The Federal Government today de-listed five NRL games from the anti-siphoning list allowing Rugby League the freedom to negotiate directly with either subscription television or free to air television in relation to those matches.

“The anti-siphoning list had previously given the free to air networks the right to determine how many matches we could offer subscription television even though the free to air networks themselves had no intention of telecasting all eight games,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.

“Today’s decision more closely reflects what people actually watch but, importantly, it takes away the constraints on our ability to negotiate the best outcome for the clubs, the players and the fans.

“Rugby League has always been committed to high quality free to air telecasts across key games each week and across State of Origin, Finals games and Tests. That commitment remains.

“We have already committed to that philosophy going forward with the Minister and will work with the government to address those undertakings in more detail.

“It is important though that the sport is able to determine issues such as fixed and ‘floating’ season schedules and that it has some say in its free to air offering.

“We acknowledge the steps the government has taken and look forward to working with it in the weeks and months ahead.”

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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