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New powers for NRL CEOs under cap changes

NRL chief Dave Smith will have the power to recruit and retain players "under exceptional circumstances" to help compete with other codes under wide-ranging salary cap changes unveiled on Wednesday.
New powers for NRL CEOs under cap changes
by AAP

BRISBANE, May 7 AAP - NRL chief Dave Smith will have the power to recruit and retain players "under exceptional circumstances" to help compete with other codes under wide-ranging salary cap changes unveiled on Wednesday.

Changes were unveiled by NRL chief operating officer Jim Doyle at Wednesday's NRL CEOs meeting after a comprehensive 10-month review of the cap - to take effect progressively from next year.

Minor changes were confirmed such as the $200,000 veteran player allowance increasing by up to 50 per cent on a sliding scale with a maximum $250,000 per club in 2015 and $300,000 in 2016.

But the allowance will now apply to players serving six years with a club - not the previous eight years.

Among the more-significant changes unveiled was "giving the NRL CEO discretion to compete with other codes to recruit or retain players in exceptional circumstances".

Other cap changes include making it easier to put long-serving players into careers with their clubs and special provisions made for teams who lose players through terminations and concussion.

Transfer fees will be regulated either by including them in the cap or through other mechanisms but the June 30 transfer window will remain.

Meanwhile, the NRL said the 2015 season would again be launched by the Auckland Nines, however the All-Stars clash would return to Suncorp Stadium on February 14 after a 12-month hiatus.

The World Club Challenge will be held in the UK before NRL trials from February 20-22 and the March 5 official kick-off.

Doyle said the NRL would strengthen concussion rules to make clubs more responsible for identifying and assessing players who might have suffered head knocks.

NRL head of football Todd Greenberg said the rules would be tightened to require a player to be taken from the field as soon as they exhibited any concussion symptoms.

The NRL also unveiled the "most significant shake-up to the way the clubs are funded in the game's history".

Clubs will have up to $1 million of a new funding package "at risk" if they don't meet minimum standards.

However, the clubs will also have the opportunity to access a multi-million dollar pool of "incentive payments" if they grow their performance across membership, game-day attendance, merchandise and sponsorship.

It will come into effect from November 1.


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