General News

Player rights non-negotiable

The Rugby League Players Association says the rights of Players are non-negotiable in the wake of today’s announcement by the NRL in relation to the Parramatta Eels.

The NRL has issued a breach notice to the Parramatta Club alleging breaches of the Salary Cap and, pending the Club’s response, signalled it intends to impose a range of sanctions.

“Firstly I want to say how incredibly proud I am of the Parramatta playing group,” said RLPA General President, Clint Newton. “I think their resolve and their resilience and the integrity that they have shown throughout this process should be commended.

“If the allegations that have been made prove to be correct then it’s an incredibly tough pill to swallow for the Players, their families and the fans,” said Newton. “We are definitely disappointed that alleged mismanagement has again impacted on our Players and the Game.

“Club administrators need to understand their actions affect people’s lives and can have very real, human consequences.”

Newton says whilst he understands the NRL has a responsibility to enforce the rules that govern the Game, the Association has an obligation to protect the interests of the Players. 

“All the Players have employment agreements that must be honoured,” said Newton. “They cannot be forced to move to another Club unless they agree and nor should any of them be intimidated into agreeing to any changes.”

Newton believes the Parramatta case raises the question of whether the current system is ‘best practice’.

“This is not the first time we’ve had to deal with this type of situation and it’s reasonable to ask if there are steps we can take to better protect the Players and safeguard the integrity of the Game,” said Newton. ‘We look forward to being involved in that discussion with the other stakeholders in the Game.

“We also recognise that 15 other Clubs are affected when one Club does the wrong thing so we we’ll be working with the rest of the Playing group to address any concerns they might have.”