No pay cuts: Cap set to stay at $10m for 2021
ARL Commission chairman Peter V'landys has ruled out heavy player pay cuts and will lobby for the salary cap to remain at $9.9 million next season in a huge win for the NRL's elite stars.
The Sunday Mail can reveal the feared financial shake-up of NRL player contracts will not occur with V'landys saying the code's new broadcast deal will prevent a drastic slashing of the salary cap.
Rugby league's revised TV rights deal will be formally announced in the next 48 hours - finally giving the ARL Commission fiscal clarity over how much money it can distribute to NRL clubs and the code's 480 full-time players.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, there were fears the salary cap could be cut by 40 per cent to $5.9 million next year, which would have signalled the end of the NRL's top stars earning $1 million a season.
But in the strongest sign yet players will not have their salaries shredded, V'landys scuppered suggestions the NRL salary cap is set for a major reduction in 2021.
"It's my intention to keep the salary cap exactly where it is," he said.
"The ARL Commission as a board will make the final decision on that (the salary cap for 2021) but my personal view is the salary cap will remain at the current levels.
"I have to look at the final financial models, but I'm happy with the broadcast deal we have put together and I'm hopeful we will have sufficient funds to keep the NRL salary cap intact."
"I am going to do my utmost for the players to get the money they deserve next year.
"Look, you never know what is around the corner, but in my mind there will not be a reduction in the salary cap.
"I gave a commitment to the NRL players that I would do my best to keep their contracts whole moving forward and that remains my objective."
V'landys' revelation means the NRL's most lucrative individual contracts will be protected.
The likes of Cameron Smith, Jason Taumalolo, Daly Cherry-Evans and Ben Hunt will not have their $1 million deals reduced, despite many players and CEOs in the NRL industry having braced for a 20 per cent salary-cap cut.
V'landys is also determined to preserve funding to the 16 NRL clubs, who stand to receive $13 million each next year, a total injection of $208 million from the governing body.
The ARL Commission chairman expects the code's new broadcast contract to be announced in the lead-up to this Thursday's NRL season relaunch between the Broncos and Parramatta at Suncorp Stadium.
"I am confident the deal will be finalised in the next few days," he said.
"Andrew Abdo (interim CEO) and his team have been working ferociously in drafting up the agreement and finalising the deal.
"It's at that final stage now, it's near completion. We are at the drafting-of-the-agreement stage. All the negotiations have been completed.
"We have to go through various boards (for approval) but I'm expecting the deal to be in place when the competition kicks off this week."
Originally published as No pay cuts: Cap set to stay at $10m for 2021