Cap third-party NRL payments: Eels CEO


The NRL and Rugby League Players’ Association (RLPA) will meet again early next week, with hopes the long-running collective bargaining agreement (CBA) discussions will come to a head.

A $9.4 million cap has been all but agreed to already by the NRL, clubs and players, but it’s understood it’s unlikely any changes will be made to the third-party agreements (TPA) system.

Under current rules, there is no limit on third-party payments from non-team sponsors to players as long as they are registered and organised independently from the club.

But Gurr, whose club’s salary-cap saga originated out of illegal third-party agreements (TPAs) before his arrival last year, said a more-regulated system had to be put in place.

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Parramatta Eels CEO Bernie Gurr. Picture. Phil Hillyard

Parramatta Eels CEO Bernie Gurr. Picture. Phil HillyardSource:News Corp Australia

“You can’t have a component of your cap — which is now becoming an even-larger component — that’s not capped,” Gurr told The Cumberland Throw podcast. “Otherwise, you lose the impact of the cap.

“The TPAs should be capped, otherwise you get a very unfair advantage between say the Canberra market versus the Brisbane corporate market, so I think there is too much disparity on the TPAs.” Gurr has worked on both sides of the third-party scale, having previously been CEO of the Sydney Roosters in the 2000s, before dealing with a more-congested western-Sydney market at the Eels.

While it won’t form part of the next CBA, it’s understood there could be scope for a revamp of the third-party system between the NRL and RLPA in the future to allow for a more-transparent model.

Gurr also called for details of players’ contracts to be published to try to create more interest in the game.

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Gurr spent 12 years working in the USA before his return to the NRL as Parramatta CEO, where public display of player payments was far more common. “It adds a bit of theatre to the game,” he said.

“People would say my right centre earns this and your right centre gets paid less but is twice as good as your guy.

“It’s no different to people who run public companies, the chairman, CEO and CFO — their salaries are all published. And if they did that, they can publish my salary if they want to.”



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