Greenberg dishes on NRL third-party changes

The NRL will consider a radical plan to cap third-party agreements when all 16 club CEOs meet later this month.

TPAs have long been a source of consternation for clubs and fans and the NRL and Rugby League Players Association have agreed to a review of the scheme, which allows players to earn extra money outside the salary cap.

Over the past two years, Manly and Parramatta have come under the scrutiny of the NRL for salary cap practices related to third-party agreements.

Detractors of TPAs argue it also leads to an uneven playing field with players from richer clubs such as Brisbane, who operate in a one-team town and are able to source more corporate support, having more incentive to stay on less salary cap money.

NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said TPAs would be top of the agenda at the NRL's CEOs meeting on February 21 and he was putting all options on the table.

"It's clear we need some change. It's clear we can evolve and modernise TPAs," Greenberg said.

Todd Greenberg. Pic: Getty

"In saying that, I really, really am encouraged by our profile players in the game being able to earn extra income outside their contract fee.

"I see Billy Slater on a billboard in Melbourne promoting a company, that's a good thing for Billy, it's a great thing for the game.

"We've got to balance expectations about seeing our elite athletes and stars of the game continue to derive additional incomes, which also sets them up for their careers after football against some of the challenges the system has."

TPAs are sponsorship deals that must be sourced by the players or their managers and sit outside the salary cap.

In 2016, Parramatta were stripped of 12 premiership points and fined $1 million after they were found to have used TPAs to rort the salary cap.

Manly are under investigation for similar allegations. However, they have denied wrongdoing.

Greenberg said while he did not know what shape a revised TPA system would look like, they would consider several options including a cap.

"Is there a way to standardise it? Are there minimums and maximums? There's a whole pile of questions that we need to be answered," he said.

"Because ultimately the salary cap is there to ensure that talent is equalised across the competition which is our great strength.

"Any changes made to the TPA system must reflect that too."


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