Doyle explains why NRL clubs are upset

By Dale Budge

New Zealand Warriors chief executive Jim Doyle at the NRL team's base in Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker
New Zealand Warriors chief executive Jim Doyle at the NRL team's base in Auckland. Photo / Greg Bowker

Warriors managing director Jim Doyle is refusing to back under fire NRL chairman John Grant as the standoff between clubs and administration reaches breaking point.

Australian media is reporting the 16 NRL clubs have written to the NRL Commission to show a vote of no confidence in Grant after a heated meeting on Wednesday where the NRL back-tracked on an agreed game funding model.

Doyle says the clubs won't accept the NRL's change in stance.

"We had a meeting on Wednesday and I think it is pretty well known that all 16 clubs are disappointed that after that meeting the NRL has changed tack," he told Radio Sport Breakfast.

When asked whether the issue would lead to Grant's removal as chairman Doyle chose his words carefully.

"Who knows? At the end of the day we all have to do the right thing for the game and for the clubs etc and as long as we get it back on track that is the most important thing.

"A year ago the game announced a funding model for the future. John Grant and the clubs collectively announced they had reached a funding agreement so each club could plan accordingly for the future not only for the next broadcasting deal but beyond that as well.

"Over the last 12 months we have been working through to get a long form agreement and each individual point was being finalized and we were down to a few points.

"On Wednesday morning the NRL changed tack and all the chairs of all the clubs said we could no longer plan for the future because we don't know what the future looks like and that is completely opposed to what we have been working towards, which is unacceptable."

The blueprint of divvying up of revenue was split on percentages which meant that no matter how much total revenue came into the game an even share was dished out to all parties.

"The total revenue that comes in the game gets split - x amount to the clubs, x amount to players, x amount to grass roots etc," Doyle says. "That was what agreed to for the future. If for example the next broadcast deal is twice the amount and the game revenue is twice as much then everyone gets twice as much. If the next deal and the game revenue is half then everyone gets half.

"It is pretty straight forward - you don't need to negotiate every few years - everyone gets a share of the pie and if the pie gets bigger then everyone gets a bigger piece, if the pie gets smaller everyone gets a smaller piece.

"It aligns everybody to go in the same direction because it is in the best interest of everybody to make the pie bigger. It was strange they wanted to change tack."

It is understood the NRL is concerned about the costs of running the game at grass roots levels as well a disappointing playing registration numbers, which is the catalyst for their change in stance.

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