Empty stadiums, like Leichhardt Oval hosting Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights, have put a huge dent in NRL finances. Picture: Brett Costello
Empty stadiums, like Leichhardt Oval hosting Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights, have put a huge dent in NRL finances. Picture: Brett Costello

‘Brutal’ NRL staff cull as clubs cut deep to survive

Almost 250 staff members at NRL football clubs could face redundancy as early as Monday, saving financially crippled clubs around $10 million for the rest of this season.

NRL club chief executives were bunkered down over the weekend trying to settle a "brutal" employment cull.

The gut-wrenching cutbacks will allow clubs to collectively save clubs around $350,000 a week.

Individual meetings between CEOs and worried staff members will begin at most clubs this morning.

 

Empty stadiums, like Leichhardt Oval hosting Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights, have put a huge dent in NRL finances. Picture: Brett Costello
Empty stadiums, like Leichhardt Oval hosting Wests Tigers v Newcastle Knights, have put a huge dent in NRL finances. Picture: Brett Costello

 

The Daily Telegraph has been told around one-third of football club staff at all 16 clubs will face four options:

* Being made redundant;

* Told to take annual leave;

* Offered leave without pay; or

* Take accrued long service leave.

Either way, clubs will be decimated just two weeks into the season. One CEO predicted it would be a "brutal" week.

The options available will however allow the possibility of staff being re-employed and not sacked.

Another CEO said: "We have to look at the expenses to make sure we are still alive after all this is over."

The amount of employees to leave will vary at each club with Manly and Cronulla operating with just 30 staff while Brisbane has around 90.

Club chief executives discussed the cut backs during a phone hook-up on Friday while many contacted each again over the weekend.

How long the league will play on with crowds excluded is an open ended question.
How long the league will play on with crowds excluded is an open ended question.

 

One club CEO said: "I suspect every club will be standing down at least a third of their workforce. It will be a brutal week. Most clubs late last week were building up their plans to stand down staff after this week.

"It will depend on each individual club but most will offer long service, standing down without pay, annual leave and some, as a worst case, will have to accept redundancies."

Given the confusion surrounding coronavirus clubs simply won't be able to tell staff offered leave without pay when they could return to work.

"But the worst is still to come," said one CEO. "Most clubs will keep the jobs open and employees may return if there's a miracle cure or the Government shutdown is successful.

"Hopefully things will pick up in the third quarter of this year and clubs can bring them back quickly and get moving again.

"We are all trying to keep everyone together in the game but it's not going to be a pretty week."

Penrith claim that matches in empty stadiums will cost the club around $5 million.

"So some staff members have gone on holidays or taken long service," Panthers group CEO Brian Fletcher said.

"They all have jobs still at this stage but it just depends on what happens in the foreseeable future.

"There won't be any football played at Penrith Stadium which has immediately put a $5m hole in the budget."

Originally published as 'Brutal' NRL staff cull as clubs cut deep to survive



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