NRL players want guaranteed super funds

CEO of the RLPA Clint Newton is concerned about missing superannuation payments for NRL players.
CEO of the RLPA Clint Newton is concerned about missing superannuation payments for NRL players.

Disappointed NRL players have demanded the league guarantee retirement funds following revelations it withheld $10 million super payments in the last two years.

The players' union will again meet with the governing body on Tuesday as it attempts to broker a financial plan during the competition shutdown.

Players are expected to take a 75 per cent pay cut from the remaining seven months of the contractual year in a bid to ensure the survival of the game.

Should the coronavirus wipe out the entire season, all 480 contracted players have been guaranteed two months' full pay for the next seven months.

Players can decide whether to receive the payments up front or divide them up in instalments until November 1.

The Rugby League Players Association has yet to officially accept the proposal, which hinges on a number of other points.

Among them could be a guarantee on the eight-figure shortfall in the players' retirement fund that the NRL instead used on operational costs.

"It's certainly been a concern of the players," said RLPA boss Clint Newton.

"There was a fair level of disappointment from the players given the fact that some guys, if they were to want it right now, may be impacted by it.

"That's why the two months' salary was obviously fundamental.

"But then obviously ensuring that there's guarantees around them depositing those funds in, if and when we needed it, is obviously crucial."

Three-quarters of the player payments will come out of a guaranteed $60 million combined in grants to the club over the next three months.

The other quarter will come from the injury hardship fund.

Players will also be likely to dip into their retirement funds, of which $12,750 was due to each player this coming season.

There were suggestions the pay cuts would be scaled to protect the lower-income earners on each roster. The minimum wage in 2020 is around $100,000.

However the emergence of a number of government subsidies could result in a number of players being better off through one of those schemes.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison on Monday unveiled a stimulus package that included $1500 a fortnight for workers impacted by COV-19, to be paid through employers.

"Having consulted with 30 of our top players and working through that (tiered) system, and given the government initiatives that are currently changing daily, we are going to be in a better position to understand how it impacts those guys at the lower level," Newton said.

Australian Associated Press