'Time for change': Phil Gould blasts NRL bosses amid virus crisis

Riley Morgan
Sports Reporter

Gus Gould has questioned NRL’s bosses after Todd Greenberg and ARLC chairman Peter V’landys said the game would be in dire straights if the NRL season is cancelled due to the coronavirus.

On Sunday, the NRL confirmed it would forge ahead with the competition in round two in the interest of keeping the game alive financially despite the growing pandemic which has forced the shut down of other major sports.

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Without insurance or assets to produce income outside of the games themselves, ARLC chairman Peter V'landys said the NRL would not take long to collapse if the season was suspended without financial assistance from the government.

Todd Greenberg (pictured left) and Phil Gould (pictured right). (Getty Images)

But Gould has blasted the NRL after pointing out the game was supposed to be saving money for a ‘rainy day’.

“When the ARL Commission was first formed in 2012, Commission member Gary Pemberton stressed to all that $50m per year should be banked in a future fund, for a rainy day,” he tweeted.

“By 2020 we should have at least $450m in reserve. It’s now pouring rain. How much is there in the future fund?”

Gould then expanded on the Today show on Monday after claiming the NRL needed to shut down the game and reflect on why the code is so vulnerable.

“The fact that it could cause such financial hardship to our clubs and to our game, I don’t think is an excuse enough to be separated from what the rest of society is doing,” he said.

“It’s going to have them look at the whole financial model and philosophy of the governing body in our code,” he added.

“We’ve got to learn from what we’ve done in the past and ask ourselves why we are so vulnerable as a code right at the moment because we have to close down for a season. It shouldn’t be that way.”

Scott Morrison responds to NRL plea

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a gloomy response when asked about V’landys’ plea on Monday.

“Obviously the NRL is not high on the list at the moment,” Morrison said.

Already the NRL has dipped into its 'distress fund' to the tune of $6.8 million, allocating $425,000 to each of the 16 clubs to assist with the financial pressure of closing games to fans from round two.

However, this is a meagre sum compared to the losses clubs are faced with from next weekend.

There were also suggestions the NRL could lower the competition's salary cap, effectively cutting the wage of players as part of the collective bargaining agreement with the Rugby League Players Association.