NRL to review third-party deals

New NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has promised to review third-party agreements in a bid to level the playing field in the wake of the Parramatta scandal.

Parramatta are under investigation after being accused of giving favours to third-party sponsors for their players in contravention of NRL rules.

All third-party agreements must be made “at arm’s length” from the club or else it could be seen as a way of stretching the salary cap rules, allegations the Eels have denied.

Third-party agreements have long been seen as perpetuating the chasm between the haves and the have-nots of the competition because richer clubs are more likely to attract outside deals for their players.

“We have 16 clubs and they’re all in different spots and parts,” Greenberg told Triple M on Sunday.

“So someone like Brisbane, surely they’ve got a big advantage being a one-team town, and Penrith – they’ve got a massive junior participation base.

“Someone like the Roosters, they don’t have a strong participation base but sit in the heart of Sydney – so there’s all different models and what we have to do is respect those models, try to find a way to oversee it where there’s even competition.”

The NRL began a review of third-party sponsor rules late last year and Greenberg said the laws would be refined as they begin to negotiate the next collective bargaining agreement, which is due to come in 2018.

“There is an issue there (with third-party agreements), there’s no doubt about that,” Greenberg said.

“We’ve got to find the balance to make sure the players can earn over and above their incomes.

“That, on the surface, you would think would be the top 50 or top 100 players who have that profile and can generate interest in the marketplace but you want to make sure some (clubs) don’t get left behind.”

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