The NRL is poised to increase its maximum fine for player misbehaviour to at least $100,000 to appropriately punish repeat offenders and clean up the image of the game.
The governing body scored a major victory over the players’ union after an independent arbitrator ruled head office was within its rights to introduce its no fault stand-down rule for players charged with serious offences. The NRL was awarded costs, vindicating the decision by former ARLC chairman Peter Beattie to champion the introduction of the hardline stance on player behaviour.
Payne Haas can expect an even bigger fine if he finds trouble off the field again.Credit:Getty
“The ARLC at the time introduced the no-fault rule acting in the long-term best interests of rugby league to build both our fan base and the financial security of the game and its players. I stand by that decision,” Beattie said. “It is now time to move on.
“The competition for fans and the sporting dollar intensifies every year. The ARLC has to be nimble and under [ALRC chair] Peter V’landys and [NRL CEO] Andrew Abdo we have the team to do just that. As a humble commissioner they will have my full and ongoing support.
“Part of the future is a close working relationship with the RLPA. Clint Newton is the right CEO to partner with the ARLC/NRL to grow the game.”
The focus at Rugby League Central will turn to harsher deterrents to curb off-field incidents after a string of negative headlines during the off season. To that end, the current maximum fine of $50,000 is expected to increase by at least double, with the issue set to be an agenda topic at next week’s scheduled ARLC meeting.
“We want to send a message that it’s a privilege to play in the NRL,” V’landys said. “When you play in the NRL you are a role model and need to act accordingly.
“I want to stress that 99 per cent of footballers do the right thing. I don’t want every player tarnished. We’re not doing this for the 99 per cent, we’re doing this for the one per cent that let the 99 per cent down.
“The players I’ve been involved with are great people, they do things like going to kids cancer wards and never look for any publicity.
“That’s all tarnished by that one percent.”
The NRL handed NSW and Broncos prop Payne Haas a $50,000 fine, as well as a three-game suspension, for verbally abusing police last month. However, players face the prospect of paying an even bigger price in the future if they run into trouble off the field.
During the NRL-RLPA dispute, the arbitrator ruled that the governing body can change any of its rules as it sees fit, so long as the conditions brokered under the collective bargaining agreement remained intact.
“I don’t care what anyone says, no one likes losing money. No one likes being fined,” V’landys said. “We don’t have to go to the maximum, but we need to have something there that will be a pretty big deterrent.”
The NRL is close to announcing a sanction for Corey Norman after the Dragons playmaker was involved in a fight in a Cronulla laneway last month. A punishment will be handed down before a new maximum fine is introduced.
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