Queensland Rugby League boss Peter Betros fears for NSW country footy’s future if John Grant is ousted by disgruntled NRL clubs.
Betros said he was worried NRL clubs wanted to take control of the game in a return to the “bad old days” after they called for a December 20 emergency meeting to decide the ARL Commission chairman’s fate.
And he believes NSW’s Country Rugby League (CRL) will be the big losers if the clubs achieve their aim.
The QRL boss says the CRL have already lost their voice and fears their days might be numbered after a power play.
“I’d fear for (the CRL’s) future if clubs got control of the commission,” Betros told AAP.
“(The CRL) have no say at all. The NSWRL doesn’t speak on behalf of the CRL.
“(The NSWRL) are controlled by the NRL clubs.
“Whatever the NRL clubs say the NSWRL will do – their structure is very different to the QRL.”
Grant fell out with NRL clubs after reneging on a year-old funding agreement.
He recently withdrew a memorandum of understanding that pledged an extra $100 million a year to clubs from 2018.
Clubs require a minimum 14 votes from the game’s 26 shareholders – the 16 clubs, NSWRL, eight commissioners and the QRL represented by Betros – to remove Grant at the meeting.
Fourteen clubs, excluding the NRL-owned Gold Coast and Newcastle, signed a letter to the ARLC backing the emergency meeting.
Grant has the support of his seven fellow ARLC directors and the QRL.
“There is a perception the clubs are being selfish and want to control the game and where the money is spent,” Betros said.
“Six years ago, the clubs were demanding an independent commission so one group didn’t get favour over another.
“Now after the commission has been doing that they want to take back control – it’s going back to the bad old days.”
Betros said getting rid of Grant would not solve anything.
“I don’t see the point in clubs wanting to get rid of John over a disagreement with commission and NRL policy,” he said.
“John is the leader of our game and everyone had been praising his success over the last five years and all of a sudden they all want to chop his head off – it doesn’t make sense to me.”
In an encouraging sign, the NRL clubs released a statement on Monday night saying they had resumed funding talks with Grant.