NRL Opens Its Books Ahead Of Salary Cap Meeting

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NRL Opens Its Books Ahead Of Salary Cap Meeting

The NRL has opened its books just two days out from crucial meetings with the Rugby League Players' Association.

Controversy over the game's Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) peaked last week with Australia captain Cameron Smith refusing to rule out a strike if a new deal can't be signed.

Representatives from the RLPA and NRL will meet for a two-day lockdown meeting on Monday, where it's hoped the parties will move closer towards settling a salary cap figure for 2018 and then until the end of the next broadcast deal in 2022.

At the heart of the issue is the RLPA's push for a revenue-sharing model, while the league are keen to gradually increase a set figure each year until it grows by 45 per cent over the life of the five-year deal.

Smith on Monday questioned the NRL's management of money, asking why head office wasn't able to run the game on his calculation of $192 million per year in available funds.

Smith said his figure was based on revenue of $400m a year ahead of next season's boost from the broadcast deal.

But the NRL claimed in a statement on Saturday that recent speculation over the game's finances had been largely "inaccurate".

Instead, it claimed that in 2016, despite a revenue of $350.5 million, 45 per cent of the game's $353.1 million expenditure was given to the players, with the funds distributed as follows:

* $160.2 million to clubs, including players

* $59.8 million to states and grassroots rugby league

* $72.1 million in revenue generating costs (including representative payments to players, stadium costs and sponsor servicing)

* $21.5 million for administration which includes staff and building costs, insurance and other overheads

* $22.6 million in football department and integrity costs, which includes referees, representative programs, drug testing and salary cap administration

* $16.9 million for community, education and wellbeing programs including retirement payments to players.

NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said every aspect of the game's operations was important when determining finances, while confirming the governing body was again aiming for a similar 45 per cent increase from the current broadcast deal.

"It is our job to find the right balance so that each area of our business is strong," he said.

"And that is what we are doing."

"The players deserve those increases and, as I have said repeatedly, they will be better paid than ever before under the next CBA agreement."

It's understood the release of the figures on Saturday was the first time the RLPA had seen the breakdown since an earlier request.

They are now eager for access to the proposed breakdown for 2018, where the game's richest ever broadcast deal is set to benefit the league.

- AAP

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