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Players Association seeks transparency for NRL salary cap rules

Rugby League Players Association boss Ian Prendergast has called for greater transparency of the NRL’s salary cap rules in the wake of the latest scandal to envelope the Cronulla Sharks.

Prendergast told Macquarie Sports Radio there is disagreement between players and administrators about how payments made by third parties should work under the cap.

“I’ve sat on that committee that’s reviewed the current third party agreement rules and it’s very clear to me that quite senior people within the game have very different views about how they are supposed to operate in practice,” Prendergast told Macquarie Sports Radio‘s Cam Reddin.

“It’s really important that those rules operate effectively. But to take that a step further, that really means that everybody understands how they operate,” Prendergast said.

He urged the NRL not to take the “easy option” by putting further restrictions on players.

“Transparency around the rules going forward will help ensure we don’t have the sort of integrity issues we’ve seen recently, and if we do, people have been put on notice that they’ve stepped out of line so the penalty will be handed down,” Prendergast said.

Over 80 per cent of third party payments are linked to high-profile representative players, making up only a “drop in the ocean” of total player payments.

He warned against any over-reactions that could see third-party payments scrapped altogether.

“Players should be able to earn an amount of money outside the salary cap that recognises their marketability,” he said.

“Hopefully in time as the game continues to evolve, we won’t shoot ourselves in the foot like we have in recent times”.

The Players Association would not support scraping the salary cap altogether.

“The salary cap, we’ve agreed to. So that’s locked in. For that to vary, we’d need to agree to it with the NRL clubs,” Prendergast said.

Under the new partnership model, 29.5 per cent of the game’s revenue flows to players. Of that amount, a salary cap is then agreed to and set in place for the term of the 5-year deal to match up with the broadcast cycle.

“[Players’] interests are more aligned with the game than they ever have been. That means they’re motivated to help protect it and grow it going forward and if that money flows it will be distributed to players through their retirement accounts,” Prendergast said.

Flexibilities around developing players and veterans have also made this year’s salary cap more adaptable than in previous years.

Click below to hear the full interview and listen to the Weekend Warm-Up with Cam Reddin 4.00am-6.00am Saturday and Sunday mornings

Cam Reddin