Commission structure almost finalised

The NRL Annual Conference of Club Chief Executives and Chairmen has been told that the NRL Commission could be confirmed by as early as this week with the formal adoption of a constitution.

The model that brings the game’s revenue and management structures under a single Commission and which consolidates the NRL Partnership, the NRL Board and the ARL Board has been agreed by all parties and there are only some final ‘drafting’ issues that need to be resolved.

“The reports to the Annual Conference today suggest that the ground work is all but finalised and that in the weeks ahead the task will be for News Limited and the ARL to begin determining the Commissioners,” NRL Chief Executive, Mr David Gallop, said today.

“This is a process that was born out of a Chief Executives’ strategic planning conference in May 2008 and Michael Searle, who has headed the Game Restructure Committee since then, has today outlined the final steps in the process.

“It promises to be a significant move forward and one that will have benefits across the game.”

In looking forward to the long term view of the game under a commission, clubs engaged in a predictive exercise about the state of the game in 2015 and beyond.

Predictions included the likelihood of new teams, greater coordination of development through a single brand, the setting up of new academies, increased commercial returns for clubs, a doubling of membership levels, a two conference system, a central stadium strategy, improved pathways from Toyota Cup to the ‘second-tier’ open age competition, increased levels of player education funding, central standards to enforce player behavior, a stronger Player’s Association, greater representation of women on club boards and the commission, new recognition and reward programmes for volunteers and referees and a restructured representative calendar that includes the establishment of a New Zealand based Origin concept.

“It was a chance to cast an eye into the years ahead and it reflected the confidence in how the game can leverage the strong position that it is in at the moment,” NRL Chief Executive Mr David Gallop said today.

Mr Gallop opened the conference by urging all clubs to remain dynamic in their approach to the game warning of the dangers of waiting for Commissioners to come on board.

“It is important that we are continuing to maintain the game’s momentum and that we are continuing to generate ideas for the Commissioners who in turn can use their wide ranging experience and knowledge to critique those ideas before the Commission sets the final policy for the game’s management to implement,” he said.

“The game has a strong strategic plan in place and it is enjoying a close, exciting competition on the field as well as salary cap increases and considerable commercial growth off the field.

“2010 saw record crowds, record membership, records in State of Origin ratings, total Free to Air audiences higher than any other football code, the highest number of programmes in subscription television’s top 100 (15 of the top 20 and 72 of the top 100), increased participation and strong commercial growth in both sponsorship and licensing - there is in short a real opportunity to build on the successes of 2010.”