ARL Commission chairman John Grant has saved his job after striking a peace deal with disgruntled NRL clubs during marathon talks on Tuesday.
Grant was able to negotiate a resolution on the club funding impasse with the 16 club chairwomen and chairmen after seven hours of talks at Rugby League Central at Moore Park in Sydney.
The clubs called the emergency general meeting after Grant last month pulled from the table a club funding deal which had been agreed in principle 12 months ago.
The commission on Tuesday agreed to a deal which went close to matching the original offer of funding clubs at 130 per cent of the salary cap.
NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg said it wasn’t yet known how much the clubs would receive because a collective bargaining agreement for the 2018 season had not yet been struck.
The NRL was light on details and it’s unclear if the clubs would receive the $1 billion over five years they had been seeking.
The grassroots of the game will receive a 65 per cent funding increase.
“Clubs will be funded more than they’ve ever been and the grassroots will receive more funding than in the clubs’ history,” Greenberg said.
“It’s a good outcome for everyone across the game. It took some time to get there but we got there.
“What I can tell you is the clubs will have a margin above the salary cap.”
Greenberg said they would also consider the club’s demand that they be given two seats on the nine-member commission.
In exchange, the clubs have agreed to a sinking fund to prop up struggling clubs.
It appeared the game’s top administrator was a dead man walking going into the meeting, with the clubs boasting the numbers to oust him.
It was touted that Grant – who refused to speak to waiting media – would be able to stay in the job for the next 12 months before being forced to step down, however Greenberg said no end date had been decided.
“John’s in a position where’s he got to put the game’s best interests at heart,” Greenberg said.
“He’s come under some personal criticism but that’s okay, that’s the way the game works.
“But John, the clubs, the commission, they handled themselves with a great deal of professionalism.”