Sunday, October 28, 2012

Expansion not part of the Australian Rugby League Commission's vision which will be unveiled in full tomorrow


EXPANSION is expected to be officially put on the backburner on Monday when the ARL Commission unveils its long-term vision for the game.

With a $1 billion-plus broadcast deal now in place, the ARLC will present its strategic plan for 2013-2017 - with expansion and the split of the funding pie amongst the key topics.

A new logo for the NRL will also be revealed as the commission sets out its long-term priorities at Rugby League Central.

Consortiums up and down the eastern seaboard - including groups in Brisbane, Ipswich and the NSW Central Coast - along with others from Perth, Wellington and even Papua New Guinea have been building their case for inclusion for a number of years.

But intent on ensuring the survival and growth of the 16 teams already in the competition, the ARLC is set to announce that expansion is not on the agenda for at least the next five years.

Bid teams were always facing an uphill battle to secure a start from the moment Nine Network boss David Gyngell indicated more games would not drive up broadcast revenue.

The ARLC will confirm a $5 million salary cap for the 2013 season, while clubs are also set to be given an indication on where the cap and the annual grants will head over coming years.

It is anticipated that a greater financial commitment to both grassroots and country football will be announced, with plans for more NRL games to be played in the bush.

There will also be clarification on representative eligibility for both State of Origin and Test football.

The ARLC's strategic plan has been six months in the planning, though there is still no word on who will be empowered to enact the vison, with no word yet on a replacement for former chief executive David Gallop, who was forced out in June.


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