NRL retaliates in explosive Nine war

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg says he is disappointed by last week’s attack from Channel 9 and insists broadcasters have been included in discussions over the league’s proposed restart next month.

The NRL will meet with Nine and their other broadcast partners from Tuesday to determine what structure the league will take in 2020.

Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) chairman Peter V’landys will hold talks with Nine chief executive Hugh Marks, and while Greenberg will not join them he will meet with his Foxtel counterpart Patrick Delaney.

In a busy week for the NRL, Greenberg also revealed he planned to have discussions with NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard before the Apollo Committee reconvenes on Friday.

But he insisted broadcasters had been part of the discussion as the NRL plans for what best suits all parties when the competition resumes on May 28.

“I’ve heard a couple of times that we have had no consultation with broadcasters. I can tell you categorically that’s not true,” Greenberg told the Continuous Call Team on Sunday.

“I have met with all three broadcasters in the past two weeks, and that includes Nine, Foxtel and (international rights holder) Sky TV.

“All of them have been in consultation with us the whole way through leading into these Project Apollo meetings and the concept of the structure of the tournament.”

Nine’s attack came over the what it claimed was a misuse of funds by head office, as well as reported frustration it was not involved in the Project Apollo discussions.

The network has also claimed its television contract had been unfulfilled by the code, and told the stock exchange last week they could save up to $130 million if the NRL was cancelled for 2020.

The scathing appraisal comes at a time when Greenberg’s position is under immense pressure, with his contract up at the end of the year.

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NRL stars are training in isolation in the hope they’ll be back on the field soon.Source:News Corp Australia

“I was disappointed in some of those comments that came out from Nine last week,” Greenberg said. “Those discussions I think we should have together behind closed doors.

“The negotiations will get a bit robust and they are already a bit robust.

“What’s clear is every business and every business model is under pressure as we are going through this health crisis.

“Revenue is falling in virtually everyone’s business. Broadcasters and clubs and players and the game are no different.”

Greenberg also defended the game against criticism it was trying to restart too early during the pandemic.

AFL heavyweight Jeff Kennett this weekend claimed the NRL was putting money ahead of player safety in its plans.

“If there are ways you can keep the industry going but ensure the safety of the people in that industry, and the broader public aren’t compromised, I think that’s a good thing,” Greenberg said.

“We won’t take any risks along the way (but) I don’t think we should be sitting around waiting for someone to tell us when it’s right.

“We have got to push our way forward and try and find a way to get the game back on.”

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