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What is the Australian Rugby League Commission all about and what do the various league bodies do?

Instead of three different boards at the top of rugby league (NRL Partnership, NRL Board, and ARL Board) we now have one board that will coordinate the game on a national basis – that is, one area where all whole-of-game decisions are made.

Sometimes people confuse the National Rugby League (‘NRL’) as being the governing body of rugby league in Australia (when it never has been). The ARL Commission is the single controlling body and administrator of the game.

The primary objectives of the ARL Commission are to:

- (a) be the single controlling body and administrator of the game;

- (b) foster, develop, extend and provide adequate funding for the game from the junior to elite levels and generally to act in the best interests of the game;

- (c) liaise with and delegate appropriate functions to governing bodies of the game in the states and territories of Australia, including the NSWRL and QRL;

- (d) organise and conduct all State of Origin and Australian representative games;

- (e) organise, conduct and foster the NRL competition;

- (f) liaise with the Rugby League International Federation Limited and organisations controlling the game in other countries in the fostering and control of the game of rugby league throughout the world;

(g) promote and encourage either directly or indirectly the physical, cultural and intellectual welfare of young people in the community and, in particular, the rugby league community;

(h) promote and encourage either directly or indirectly sport and recreation, particularly rugby league football, in the interests of the social welfare of young persons.

The NRL looks after the 16-team first grade Telstra Premiership competition and also the Toyota Cup (Under-20s) competition. It is not in charge of rep footy. Representative football is conducted by the Australian Rugby League Commission, with the All Stars, VB Test, City vs Country, Harvey Norman State of Origin, and Gillette Four Nations tournament all forming part of rugby league’s rep footy events calendar.

Under the new Commission the New South Wales Rugby League, Country Rugby League (NSW), QLD Rugby League and ARL Development remain separate entities, as do the 16 NRL Clubs.

The New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) is the governing body of rugby league in New South Wales. It looks after the NSW State of Origin Team, City team for the City v Country match, NSW Cup, NSW junior and senior club competitions, NSW development programs, the NSWRL Academy and Western Sydney Academy.

New South Wales has a second governing body, the NSW Country Rugby League (CRL), to govern the sport outside the Sydney metropolitan area. Despite its name, it also governs rugby league in the Australian Capital Territory. The CRL administers a large number of senior and junior competitions across the state and also selects a Country Origin side to play in the annual City vs Country Origin game.

The Queensland Rugby League (QRL) is the governing body of rugby league in Queensland. It administers rugby league through its regional divisions and is responsible for the Queensland State of Origin team, QLD Cup competition, as well as all QLD junior and senior club competitions.

Australian Rugby League Development (ARLD) is a non-profit company which aims to develop the grassroots of rugby league from introductory level up to the age of 18 years. ARLD does not run any competitions but rather works within the pre-existing development frameworks established by clubs and state leagues to enhance existing programs and establish new development initiatives, with a particular focus on participation. Its core mission is to provide a positive rugby league experience to as many boys and girls as possible and to support and strengthen the infrastructure of the grassroots game.

The 16 NRL Clubs are not owned by the ARL Commission or the NRL. They are each separate individual businesses with their own CEOs and organisational structure, although they are bound to the NRL by Club Agreements and a common set of rules.

The NSWRL, QRL, CRL, ARLD and the 16 NRL Clubs are all members of the Commission.

One of the important things to note is that the Commission is not aligned to any one area of the sport, or any particular team or teams for that matter – it will work to develop and foster the game at all levels – from grass roots rugby league to the elite level – and this includes ensuring there is adequate funding in all areas.

For more info about how the Commission will work, fans can click here.

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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