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The NRL Club Chairmen met in Sydney yesterday to discuss the progress towards the formation of the Independent Commission.
The meeting took place against the background of press reports some weeks ago to the effect that News Limited was hopeful of the Independent Commission being in place by tomorrow, 30 April, 2011.
The NRL Club Chairmen were concerned that two key agreements necessary for the formation of the Independent Commission have still not been finalised despite lengthy negotiations.
The meeting received a report that the Members Agreement has not been finalised due to the insistence by the QRL that its sovereignty over Queensland rugby league be enshrined, while the Partnership Dissolution Agreement has not been finalised due to the reluctance of News Limited to provide a commitment that it will not start any future competition which competes with the NRL.
It is a matter of considerable concern to the Chairmen that the formation of the Independent Commission, designed to free rugby league once and for all of vested interests, is being delayed by such issues.
The formation of the Independent Commission has always been of fundamental importance to the future of the game. With the commencement of negotiations for the new media rights deal now overdue, with the AFL apparently having now negotiated a lucrative media rights deal, and with the licences of all NRL clubs expiring at the end of this season, the immediate formation of the Independent Commission has now become critical.
The NRL clubs call on the ARL and News Limited to finalise all outstanding agreements to allow the formation of the Independent Commission within the next seven days for the benefit of everyone in the game, and to respect the time frames for the formation of the Commission, which they, themselves, have set.