Criticisms of the NRL head office are set to intensify following revelations the game’s management team have raked in the best part of $6 million.
Criticisms of the NRL head office are set to intensify following revelations the game’s management team have raked in the best part of $6 million.

NRL under pressure to shred massive salaries of top brass

The call from clubs to slash and burn NRL head office is set to escalate amid revelations that the game's management team have been sharing in at the best part of $6 million for the past five years.

Amid accusations of a bloated head office and mismanagement of funds, The Daily Telegraph has conducted a deep dive into the sums spent on the game's executive team since the ARL Commission was formed in 2012.

When the commission took charge of the game eight years ago, management personnel shared less than $3 million between them.

That figure has now doubled, headlined by the million-dollar salary being raked in by chief executive Todd Greenberg.

Greenberg is believed to be on close to $1.2 million a year. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images.
Greenberg is believed to be on close to $1.2 million a year. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images.

Greenberg is believed to be on in excess of $1.2 million, that figure increasing significantly when bonuses are factored in. The game's chief executive, who has come under increasing fire in recent weeks amid speculation he is on his way out, benefited from a spike in salaries when former banker Dave Smith was hired to run the game in 2014.

The year prior to Smith's arrival was the last the bare-bones NRL.

Ever since, the earning power of those who occupy the seats of power at head office have been on an upward curve.

To their credit, they have grown the game's revenue at an exponential rate over that time. When the commission was first formed, the NRL was a $240 million operation.

It now generates more than double that amount, the 2019 financial report revealing the game produced in excess of $520 million. The executive team have done a remarkable job in increasing revenue over that time.

The NRL head office is under fire. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images.
The NRL head office is under fire. Photo by Matt King/Getty Images.

That hasn't stopped some crying foul over the amount of money being lavished on head office. Only last week, broadcast partner the Nine Network accused the game of wasting funds on a bloated head office.

Many nodded their head in agreement and it appears only a matter of time before costs are reeled in, the overhaul of management salaries fast-tracked by the impact of COVID-19 on the rugby league economy.

The latest financial reports of the ARL Commission suggest management personnel - the members of the commission and the NRL executive team - earned in excess of $6 million in 2019.

Around $600,000 of that was directed towards the commissioners - chair Peter V'landys takes home $150,000 for his role and his fellow commissioners each receive $75,000.

That leaves around $5.5 million to be shared among the NRL executives. According to the 2019 financial report, key management personnel included Greenberg, chief operating officer Nick Weeks, chief financial officer Tony Crawford, chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo, head of football Graham Annesley, head of participation and game development Luke Ellis and chief digital officer Alex Alderson.

It is understood that figure was set to increase significantly in the 2020 financial report after additions were made to the executive team.

Change, however, is in the wind. V'landys has already spoken about the game's unsustainable cost structure and clubs are set to demand that if they are required to cut costs, their sacrifices should be mirrored at the NRL.

There have been suggestions the football department cap could be reduced by as much as 40 per cent next season and head office is likely to feel the sharp edge of the sword as well. Greenberg, in particular, is fighting a seemingly losing battle to save his job as he edges towards the end of his contract.

Originally published as NRL under pressure to shred massive salaries of top brass


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