A number of rugby league teams are reportedly threatening to leave the NRL and join a breakaway competition after they reached a stalemate over funding.
The Daily Telegraph reports that negotiations between the league and clubs over funding have come to a halt after months of slow progress.
It leaves the teams without knowledge of their salary cap for next season and players without contract certainty either.
It’s being reported that the licenses for the 16 NRL teams expire next season, and as such the clubs are floating the radical idea of breaking away from the NRL.
Panthers CEO Brian Fletcher is leading the charge and has asked for transparency between the league and teams.
He told The Daily Telegraph: “Peter [V’landys] has got to realise we need some answers and we need some transparency.
“We’ve asked for a balance sheet from Magic Round. We put on the show but we never see anything. It’s actually deplorable. Show us the figures.
“It’s hard to support them when you think they are robbing you. The clubs are the shareholders.
“How much did they make out of the grand final? And why rob the people that put the game on.”
Fletcher says the clubs want an extra $5 million added to their salary cap each year and believes the league has more than enough to do so.
The publication reports that club bosses put the blame on NRL CEO Andrew Adbo and are planning to go over his head to ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys.
Former Canberra Raiders captain Simon Woolford called the negotiation stalemate an ‘absolute joke’.
He wrote on Twitter: “I think clubs and players just want closure.
“The fact the 2023 season has started and no final figures on salary cap etc are set - is an absolute joke.”
Dolphins coach Wayne Bennett called the reports of a breakaway league ‘rubbish’, according to 9News reporter Mark Gottlieb.
Meanwhile, sports reporter Bernie Coen hit out at the idea of clubs even considering breaking away from the NRL.
“Yes the NRL needs to sort out the salary cap mess, amongst other things, but reigniting a ‘war’ is dumb.”
The sport was rocked in the 90s when the Super League broke away from the Australian Rugby League over television rights.
The two leagues made peace and merged after just one season to form the NRL.
Featured Image Credit: NRL/Supplied.