NRL players will reportedly be asked to cop a mammoth 87 per cent pay cut while the competition is in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.
ARLC Chairman Peter V'landys said the 2020 premiership's postponement is "probably the biggest financial crisis the game will face in its history", and the NRL have frantically begun the arduous task of cutting costs.
The competition is not likely to recommence until June at the earliest, and it has been predicted the NRL will lose $13 million for every round that isn't played.
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The Sydney Morning Herald reported on Thursday the NRL only have $12 million in allocated funds for player payments until the end of the financial year, in late October. This sum is considerably lower than the $93 million the players were expecting during that seven-month period.
However, the players have already been paid their share of $67 million since the financial year commenced in November 2019.
There are a total 480 NRL players – 30 from each of the 16 clubs – and if the remaining funds were spread evenly, each would receive approximately $26,000 over the next seven months.
On Thursday, NRL CEO Todd Greenberg confirmed the game's elite players were not worried about their own pay, rather the fringe players who are not as financially stable.
"There wasn't one of those players who were concerned about their own financial future," Greenberg said on Fox League Mornings.
"The primary concern that came through on that call was, 'What are we going to do about the players from numbers 20-30?'
"And, 'How do we make sure they stay afloat during this six-month period?' It was a nice, warming thing to hear the players have that view around their colleagues.
"When we went into the agreement with the players, the first thing we said and the agreement we made is they will get a percentage of the revenue.
"The players wanted to be genuine partners of the game, so they wanted to share in the game's successes. So if the game does really well, they get a bigger slice.
"But in a genuine partnership, when the revenue goes down, you have to be aware that your percentage is going to drop with that."
Greenberg also confirmed 95 per cent of the NRL staff has been stood down on Monday.
Speaking on Fox League Live, Maroons great Cooper Cronk – who retired last year after claiming a second-consecutive premiership with the Sydney Roosters – argued it was the players' "duty" to do whatever they can to assist the NRL during this challenging period.
"This game is a great game, and we've been blessed to play it … It's taken its hit, and as players who buy into the rewards of it, we have to buy into the downside," Cronk said on Thursday.
"Some people have lost their jobs in society, players will still be able to have a job and some security with their lifestyle choices. But this game has been a blessing, and I think players need to give back a little bit.
"If I played the game for 14 or 15 years and was well remunerated, I would almost see it as my duty because of what the game has given me, because I got so much out of it. It's my duty to give back and make those tough call."
Comparatively, the AFL's players agreed to a 50 per cent pay cut on Monday after discussion between the AFL and the Players Association. After 80 per cent of the AFL's staff were stood down when the competition was postponed, football legend Leigh Matthews condemned the players for not copping a more substantial pay reduction amid the global health crisis.
"I've lost a lot of respect for the collective player group over this last couple of weeks," Matthews told 3AW on Tuesday night.
"I think what's happened in the last week has been embarrassingly disappointing."