Nine goes nuclear in NRL war


Channel 9 has threatened to walk away from the NRL over a stunning falling out over the league’s plans to push ahead with a shortened 2020 season.

A Nine News report claims the long-term rugby league broadcaster is calling for heads to roll at the top of the NRL executive.

The broadcaster is reportedly fuming over the NRL’s plans to press ahead with an improvised 15-round season, beginning as early as May 21.

The Australian Rugby League Commission and chairman Peter V’landys are meeting on Thursday to rubber-stamp the brazen proposal from the innovations committee for the season to resume in six weeks, according to reports.

However, Channel 9 has now gone public with its fury that it hasn’t been considered in the ongoing discussions for the game to return.

It leaves the NRL’s $1.8 billion broadcast deal hanging by a thread.

Among the dirty laundry aired by Nine is a stunning accusation that NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has mismanaged the game — leaving the NRL with nothing to show for the record broadcast deals signed with Nine and Foxtel over the last 10 years.

Channel 9’s Danny Weidler had earlier told Sky Sports Radio Greenberg was “on the nose” with senior NRL powerbrokers and was in a fight to save his job.

Channel 9 and Todd Greenberg are at war.Source:Getty Images

“At Nine we had hoped to work with the NRL on a solution to the issues facing rugby league in 2020, brought on so starkly by COVID-19,” a Channel 9 statement claimed

“But this health crisis in our community has highlighted the mismanagement of the code over many years. Nine has invested hundreds of millions in this game over decades and we now find they have profoundly wasted those funds with very little to fall back on to support the clubs, the players and supporters.

“In the past the NRL have had problems and we’ve bailed them out many times including a $50m loan to support clubs when the last contract was signed.

“It would now appear that much of that has been squandered by a bloated head office completely ignoring the needs of the clubs, players and supporters.”

The innovative committee, overseeing the game’s Project Apollo project, will present a number of proposals to the Commission, including temporarily relocating non-Sydney teams to the harbour city. How long the likes of Brisbane, North Queensland, Gold Coast, Melbourne and the Warriors stay in Sydney depends on interstate travel restrictions. It is understood some teams could be housed in the Sydney Olympic Park precinct, while the Panthers Rugby League Academy is another option.

— with AAP

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