NRL rebellion: Rugby league clubs want CEO Dave Smith gone or threaten to leave competition
August 23, 2015 12:00am
JAMES HOOPERThe Sunday Telegraph
Clubs are threatening to leave the NRL competition unless CEO Dave Smith is ousted. Picture: Phil Hillyard
SOME of the most powerful figures in rugby league have floated the idea of a breakaway 12-team competition in a bid to oust NRL CEO Dave Smith.
Last week’s TV negotiations, which saw Fox Sports and Telstra cut out of the deal, is the latest in a growing list of frustrations they have with Mr Smith and Australian Rugby League Commission Chairman John Grant.
The new competition would be made up by the 12 clubs, whose NRL participation agreements end at the conclusion of the 2017 season.
Of those 12, four are leading the rebel league discussions with the goal of getting Mr Smith and Mr Grant torpedoed out of office.
Under the radical proposal the four clubs currently being propped up by the NRL – Wests Tigers, St George Illawarra, Newcastle and Gold Coast – would be left out of the new competition.
The push has been discussed among some of the most influential figures in rugby league who remain furious at a range of NRL decisions, including cutting key stakeholders Fox Sports and Telstra out of the TV negotiations.
Their anger was intensified after News Corp and the Seven Network partnered to give the AFL a record $2.5 billion television deal.
The inconsistencies from the NRL match review committee and the judiciary in relation to the shoulder charges are also a key concern of the powerbrokers, as well as the multi-million dollar blow-out of executive salaries and the number of staff employed since Smith was appointed at the start of 2013.