David Gallop.
David Gallop.

Gallop and ARL part ways

DAVID Gallop dropped a bombshell yesterday, resigning as chief executive of the Australian Rugby League Commission just four months into a four-year contract.

Clearly there were issues between the commission and Gallop, chairman John Grant saying everyone had come to the conclusion that Gallop wasn't the man to take the sport forward.

"The way it's been run, you'd have to say it's been a reactive business," Grant said. "The business it is today and has been in the past 10 years is very different to what it will be going forward.

"It's a very different business cycle and it needs a new approach."

Grant said the timing would not affect ongoing negotiations over TV rights which are seen as crucial to the growth of the code. He also said once agreement had been reached that Gallop was not the man for the job, there was no point waiting.

"Six months into a four-year contract would have been two months too long," Grant said.

Gallop denied he had been pushed but acknowledged that with the commission taking over the game nationally, it was time for someone new to take the reins. "The new structure is what the game needed but it's understandable things were going to be difficult," he said.

"There was always going to be a period of seeing how it went on both sides. There were just some discussions about where things were at. It's time for a fresh approach. I get that."

Grant paid tribute to the job Gallop had done over the past decade, describing the role as "one of the toughest jobs in sports management".

He also said the code had a very capable senior management team, with NRL general manager of strategy Shane Mattiske to take over the CEO role until a replacement was found. Mattiske has been heavily involved in the broadcast rights negotiations and in the development of a "whole-of-game strategic plan".

Gallop said he loved the game and had loved his time in charge.

He said there had been plenty of highs and lows, with the highs including the resurgence of the game, and the introduction of the annual All-Stars game.

The lows were plentiful, including the Canterbury and Melbourne Storm salary cap abuses.

"There have been some challenging decisions but I believe we were well regarded for those decisions in Australian sport," he said. "There are great days ahead for rugby league."

Grant said the search for a replacement would start immediately and while it would not be restricted to rugby league administrators, or sports administrators in general, having a knowledge of the game, and an understanding of the passion that fans had for the game, was important.

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