Bitter pay war nearing end after key breakthrough

The bitter pay war between the NRL and the Rugby League Players’ Association is nearing a conclusion after breakthrough talks between the two parties.

Key stakeholders from both sides spent most of Wednesday in lengthy meetings in an attempt to thrash out a deal.

According to 9News Sydney’s Danny Weidler, the NRL is “hopeful” the dispute could be sorted by Thursday afternoon if talks with the RLPA continue to progress in a positive manner.

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NRL CEO Andrew Abdo, ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys, RLPA boss Clint Newton and RLPA chairman Deidre Anderson were among those present at Wednesday’s meetings, per The Sydney Morning Herald, with V’landys describing the meetings as “very positive”.

The breakthrough comes after 20 months of negotiations between the two sides. Issues causing the divide include the length of the season, autonomy over union funding and digital rights.

Players pulled several levers in order to kickstart talks in recent weeks, including covering the NRL logo on jerseys after boycotting media duties. There were also threats suggesting the Dally M awards could be boycotted as well.

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The players then released a video in which both men’s and women’s players reaffirmed their unity.

“The current terms and conditions expire in three months, leaving the whole industry vulnerable,” various players said during the video.

“Players are people too; we deserve to be treated with respect. The NRL and clubs should want a completed CBA and the protection it provides for not only the players, but the entire industry.

“They say we aren’t informed. We are. They say we’re not united. We are.”

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