NRL cuts 25 per cent of staff to save $50 million a year

Australia World

The NRL has culled one-quarter of staff across all roles to achieve a saving of $50 million annually trying to keep the business afloat after COVID-19.

Chief executive Andrew Abdo informed the NRL’s more than 400 staffers of the cull over the phone on Monday morning.

“Our business has been hit by a hurricane called COVID which caused substantial damage. Our strategy moving forward is to stabilise, renovate and grow,” Abdo said.

The code has acknowledged it will take years to recover from the loss of millions of dollars in 2020.

Staffers will meet with their managers this week to find out if they still have a job.

“We will lose some talented people, this is a painful but necessary process to survive, we all want to leave the game in a stronger position,” Abdo said.

Developing the game is also part of the restructure.

“We will renovate by making our products more entertaining and dynamic for fans and develop bold plans for growth, looking at new products, new markets and how we can grow the game internationally,” he said.

The league will prioritise two strategies: delivering world-class sports entertainment and investing in participation and community growth.

“We are aiming to transform faster than others to remain competitive in a dynamic market,” Abdo said.

The restructure has streamlined the organisation into seven areas of focus:

  • Competitions
  • Partnerships
  • Fan Experience
  • Finance, Technology and Operations
  • Risk, Integrity and Performance
  • Brand, Media and Communications
  • Participation and Community

The NRL’s executive team has also taken a hit, already cut from 11 members to eight during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In order to stabilise, we must secure revenues and reduce our expenses to ensure a strong foundation,” Abdo said.

The Australian Rugby League chairman speaks at an NRL media conference.The Australian Rugby League chairman speaks at an NRL media conference.
The NRL is in for more change under ARLC chairman Peter V’landys.(AAP: Joel Carrett)

These retrenchments come after the loss of former CEO Todd Greenberg, chief operating officer Nick Weeks, chief of corporate affairs Liz Deegan and chief financial officer Tony Crawford.

Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys made it clear when he was appointed in October last year his desire to make the organisation more productive and sustainable.

“Rugby league, under the direction of the Commission, has led the way in Australian sport and I am confident we will continue to do so,” Abdo said.