RLPA backs third-party transparency in NRL

The NRL is considering the publication of their clubs’ third-party agreements.Players union boss Ian Prendergast backed the proposal to publish the total third-party agreements at NRL clubs in a bid to quell concerns of salary cap cheating.

The governing body is believed to be in discussions with the Rugby League Players Association to publicise how much clubs are topping up their salary caps by third-party agreements (TPAs).

It comes after reports the Melbourne Storm were the beneficiary of $788,000 in TPAs last year, while St George Illawarra boasted just an extra $26,000.

While it is understood the NRL may only publish figures and not attach them to clubs, Prendergast said the RLPA is keen to review the entire TPAs system.

“We’ve spoken to the NRL recently about introducing more transparency,” Prendergast told AAP at the Fox Sports NRL season launch.

“It’s around the TPA arrangements that are in place across the competition to address some of the misinformation and ill-informed opinions that have been getting a run.

“In particular there is this perception that there is actually a bigger gap between what some people consider the haves and have-nots.

“But this puts into context the issue that we’re reviewing.

“We’ll now work through a process with the NRL and clubs to decide if any changes are made to the current system.”

Prendergast insisted the NRL has made progress in weeding out the TPAs problems which resulted in clubs getting in trouble with their salary cap management.

The Parramatta Eels were famously stripped of 12 competition points and fined $1 million in 2015 for cheating, while the Manly Sea Eagles are currently fighting to clear their name after their own TPAs issues.

Prendergast said only representative players are now in a position to command the extra income through private sponsorship deals, outside of their NRL salaries.

“We need to understand and appreciate the vast majority of these deals are linked to representative players now,” he said.

“They’re the ones that deserve the right to earn an income outside the salary cap that’s in place, particularly if they’re genuine and bona fide because that allows them to grow their own brand.

“It also allows more money to come into the game so we gain in the overall interest.”

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