Former Channel Nine boss David Gyngell has joined the Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) in an advisory role.
In a significant coup for the players’ body as it seeks to enhance its profile and influence within the NRL, he has agreed to join the RLPA as part of a six-person advisory board.
Gyngell quit in November as Nine’s chief after five years as one of the most-influential figures in rugby league. He remains a non-executive on Nine’s board.
Gyngell’s appointment is part of a comprehensive review and restructure of the RLPA under new CEO Ian Prendergast, who assumed the post in November.
“It is huge for us in terms of David’s calibre and his influence within the industry,” Prendergast told AAP.
“We are really fortunate that he has put his hand up and agreed to join us as an advisory member. We look forward to working closely with him, particularly in the lead-up to the CBA negotiations.”
The RLPA advisory board, which also includes lawyer Russell Adams, deputy vice-chancellor of Macquarie University Deidre Anderson, CEO of APEX Advertising Pippa Leary, Joseph Sponholz, who has acted for the NFL Players’ Association, and marketing guru Tony Thomas will meet four times a year.
The six have also agreed to be regularly available to the RLPA and players in an advisory capacity.
“It is important that our board and our players generally are able to reach out to people like that,” Prendergast said.
“David, in particular – from a negotiations and broadcast point of view – will be invaluable in providing me with insights and advice on how to approach matters.
“I am very confident the players will be really supportive of all the governance changes we have made and the people we have involved.
“We are well placed to provide improved representation and support for the players moving forward.”
Gyngell was glad to be on board.
“I am proud to support the RLPA,” he said.
“Past, present and future players are the core of this great community and ensuring their well being is paramount to the continued growth of the game.”
As part of a mid-term Collective Bargaining Agreement review, the RLPA secured an additional $2.7 million to be paid to players over the final two years of the current contract which runs until the end of the 2017 season.
Players have also been awarded an extra week of post-season annual leave, taking it up to seven weeks.
Prendergast said negotiations with the NRL on a new CBA would begin at the end of this season.