NRL CEO Todd Greenberg speaks to the media.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg speaks to the media.

NRL confirm official return date

NRL clubs will be able to resume training from May 4 as the competition charges towards its planned May 28 restart.

ARL Commissioner Wayne Pearce confirmed teams would have a three-week pre-season before the competition resumed, ahead of a meeting with clubs on Wednesday.

 

"What we achieved today was a lot more clarity around the medical process and what those protocols are," Pearce told NRL.com.

"We clarified that May 28 is a definite and also confirmed that May 4 is the resumption date for training.

"What was also confirmed that the competition points that had been earned in the first two rounds will carry over to the extended competition.

"Everyone is supportive of what we're doing. Everyone is unified into getting back on the field.

"We feel like we owe it to not just the players and coaches but the thousands of staff members at various clubs and associated industries that are out on the unemployment lines too."

GREENBERG BREAKS SILENCE


Todd Greenberg has spoken publicly for the first time since he stepped down as NRL CEO on Monday, claiming he has never been happier.

Greenberg and the ARL Commission "mutually agreed" to part ways amid growing backlash regarding the NRL's financial management. His role had been on a knife's edge after copping much of the blame for the NRL's current financial predicament.

The father-of-two has remained in self-isolation with his family in Oatley since his resignation.

Speaking to 7NEWS on Wednesday, Greenberg bluntly said, "I don't think I've ever been happier," while out walking with his wife.

"No, I'm not at all (upset), it's been a great journey as I've said, I've had a lovely time working at the NRL ... loved every single minute of it."

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.

Greenberg spoke to the media about some of his proudest achievements from his home on Wednesday morning.

"It's been a great privilege and honour to work in the game and serve as the CEO for as long as I have," he said.

"Certainly when I reflect on it, the advent of the women's game and the growth we've had with the NRLW, I hope to see that prosper in the years to come.

"Sitting at the 2017 grand final and watching Macklemore perform and I suppose see the inclusiveness of the sport portrayed was fantastic.

"In more recent times I think the what the game has done around concussion protocols with players has been world class."

When asked about his critics, Greenberg said, "It's not a popularity contest and I understand that".

"I've said it before it's brutal on the field and more brutal off it. But that's OK, I've had a great a ride."

Andrew Abdo has been appointed as acting CEO while the search begins for a new NRL boss.

REPORT: NRL TO EXTEND DEAL WITH NINE, FOXTEL

The NRL is reportedly looking at signing a three-year extension to its broadcast deal with Foxtel and Channel 9.

The Sydney Morning Herald reported the game's television partnership could be extended until 2025. Foxtel and Nine are only two-and-a-half years into the current five-year arrangement which ends in 2022, but ARLC chair Peter V'landys is hoping to renegotiate those terms.

Foxtel and Channel 9 currently pour $325 million per year into rugby league, but are negotiating a sum lower than that for the three-year extension.

The NRL is desperately looking to avoid a financial catastrophe amid the coronavirus epidemic, and although the new broadcast deal would be detrimental in the long run, it ensures immediate viability.

These discussions took place one day after Todd Greenberg stepped down as NRL CEO.

Channel 9 is also reportedly pushing for more exclusive matches during current negotiations.

Foxtel boss Patrick Delany and Nine CEO Hugh Marks will also be involved in Wednesday's innovation committee meeting which will hopefully map out the remainder of the 2020 season.

Peter V’landys. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Peter V’landys. Picture: Jonathan Ng

The NRL will prioritise getting the game back on the field ahead of searching for a new chief executive as it places its faith in interim boss Andrew Abdo. ARL Commissioners had lengthy meetings on Tuesday, just a day after Greenberg fell on his sword as the game's CEO.

But while finding a replacement would usually be top of the agenda, commissioners are aware they currently face a bigger challenge.

The game is still on track for a May 28 return, but it means any serious search for a new CEO may not begin until after that date.

"We're in no rush," V'landys told AAP. "We've got confidence in Andrew Abdo to do the job. We want to get through this crisis. There is no rush for it, let's put it that way."

Any search is likely to take considerable time regardless.

It took five months for Todd Greenberg to take the job from David Smith in 2016, despite being the leading contender the whole time the extensive mission took place.

The commission's willingness to wait is also aided by Abdo's increased involvement in recent weeks.

He travelled with V'landys to the US for meetings with Lachlan Murdoch and streaming companies in February.

He has also been a part of some broadcaster meetings, and holds a seat on the NRL's Project Apollo committee which is planning the game's restart.

"He is au fait with every aspect of the business," V'landys said. "And he has a good team in there to assist him. The team is still there. It's just got a new leader in Andrew."

Andrew Abdo and Todd Greenberg. Picture: Richard Dobson
Andrew Abdo and Todd Greenberg. Picture: Richard Dobson

Abdo emailed all staff within hours of being handed the interim role on Monday, and is expected to address all staff for the first time later this week. Like Greenberg four years ago, Abdo will also shape as the frontrunner for the role.

Despite having no club background, the chartered accountant has been a part of the NRL business for more than six years in the commercial space. There is also a widely held view that the NRL needs a money man at the top in a time where rebuilding the game's funds and providing security for clubs will be crucial.

Several other leading candidates have already distanced themselves from the role.

South Sydney chief executive Blake Solly, Canberra counterpart Don Furner and Accor hotels COO Simon McGrath almost have ruled themselves out. Storm boss Dave Donaghy also said he is happy in Melbourne, while Brisbane CEO Paul White and NSWRL chief David Trodden refused to comment.

But as one administrator pointed out this week, most from club land would still do cartwheels to Moore Park if they were personally approached by the NRL for the role.

- with AAP



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