NRL 2020: Players ready to take pay cut, says Players Association

Players are receptive to taking a major pay cut to ensure the game's future amid the NRL shutdown, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Players union boss Clint Newton says he's convinced the game will survive, after holding a phone hook-up with 40 leading players on Tuesday, after the league suspended its season indefinitely on advice from its pandemic and biosecurity experts.

"I spoke to them [players] today to provide an update on where things are at, and work through a process they have to consider with a reduction to their share [of income] and some of the next steps," he told Fox League.

"It was a successful call. The players are incredibly engaged in a time of uncertainty.

"They understand it is a challenging time for everyone and they are prepared to do whatever it takes for this game to rebound."

Newton, who was appointed chief executive of the Rugby League Players Association last week, said the next steps would be thrashed out with further talks on Wednesday.

"The main part [about talks on Tuesday] was identifying the next steps... discussing the steps involving a reduction in the players' revenue," he said.

"But that is going to come down to having further discussions with club CEOs and the NRL tomorrow, when we get further information on what the game looks like and what is the position of the clubs, and what share the players have to take in that.

"But we have committed to work through a process."

A clause in the collective bargaining agreement reportedly allows the NRL to renegotiate player salaries, if revenues decrease by $10 million in one year.

The game apparently loses $13 million in broadcast revenue, paid in monthly instalments, for every round missed.

Newton said players were ready to resume playing as late as September 1 and through to late December to ensure the 2020 season is completed.

The NRL season has been suspended indefinitely.
The NRL season has been suspended indefinitely. Photo credit: Getty

"Regarding the scheduling, the players have indicated they will do whatever it takes, because they want to play," he said.

"They want to give people something to look forward to on the weekend, particularly during a period of time that is a significant period of pain for the broader community.

"If we have to play a season that extends into December, then players will work through that.

"Everything is on the table at the moment and we are all open to it."