Off the Wall

We already know that just two NRL clubs are likely to make a profit this year - and we know for sure that four clubs are in dire straits and need a "cash advance" soon to pay their way.

In this environment the new Independent Commission - due to take control of the game in 14 days time - is surely entitled to expect that clubs will have their own administrations in order so that a united and competent front can be presented as media rights are negotiated?

The game needs every shot in the locker to get the deal it needs and deserves - and renew and sign up sponsors in what is a very difficult environment.

Today we find that the Parramatta Eels are just about as big a rabble as the Manly Sea Eagles........administration wise. And the Sea Eagles are among the four needs a handout.

And there are any number of clubs having difficulty re-signing sponsors for 2012. Times are tough in many sectors of business - and when that happens, sponsorship is usually the first casualty.

And when it comes to media rights negotiations, the key players will not just look at the viewing audience numbers. They will look at the overall state of the game - and its key stakeholder, the clubs, in particular.

When two of the highest profile clubs are in the headlines because of administrative divisions, and issues, the image is not good at all.

And when perhaps four or more other clubs are in dire straits it is even worse.

If we are to have a new era of accountability thanks to the IC then it must extend to the 16 clubs who assume effective "ownership" of the game when the IC takes over.

There is only one club that is currently required to make all its financials public - the Broncos, as they are a public company.

There needs to be a requirement on all clubs - regardless of ownership structure - to make public key financial details.

And the NRL, under the IC's jurisdiction, must do the same.

The IC faces a growing number of challenges - the administrative and financial state of the 16 clubs has to be high on the list.

If the full financial picture is made public, fans will have every cause to be concerned - if not alarmed.

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