HomeEquality and DiversityNRL CEO Confirms NRLW Years Away From Becoming Professional

NRL CEO Confirms NRLW Years Away From Becoming Professional

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NRL CEO Confirms NRLW Years Away From Becoming Professional

At the launch of the expanded 2021 NRLW competition, NRL CEO, Andrew Abdo, has confirmed he remains unsure of when the NRLW will be able to become a fully professional competition.

Explaining this, Abdo claimed the women’s rugby league competition does not have the financial and structural foundation to become a fully fledged professional competition, revealing there is no timeline for its professional conversion.

“It’s difficult to predict,” Abdo told journalists at the launch when asked when the athletes could expect to become professional and receive professional athlete-level payments.

“I don’t have the answer for you there.

“But all I can say is that we are putting the foundations and enablers in place to facilitate that.

“How many years that takes, I can’t answer.

“But what I can say is that we will invest at all levels of the pyramid to make sure that the quality of the football and the experience for the players is not compromised,” he said.

Adding further, when asked how much he expects professional NRLW athletes to be paid if and when the league becomes fully professional, Abdo said: “There are a number of factors that go into that; supply and demand, the level of content, the revenue that allows us to do that.”

“The [Australian Rugby League] Commission (ARLC) is committed to increasing the ability for players and officials to be able to increase their salaries and earning capacity through endorsements and sponsorships and support,” he said.

At the launch, the ARLC and the NRL revealed the season will launch in Newcastle at the McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday, with Redcliffe’s Moreton Daily Stadium to host the Grand Final on Sunday 10 April, marking the first time an NRLW Grand Final will be held in Brisbane.

The season will also see the Gold Coast Titans, Newcastle Knights, and Parramatta Eels join the competition, competing against the Brisbane Broncos, St George Illawarra Dragons, and Sydney Roosters.

The year will also mark the first time women’s rugby league will be completed over a full 12-month calendar, with two NRLW competitions in 2022, the Ampol State of Origin, State Leagues and the World Cup to be played in the UK.

At the launch, Telstra chief marketing officer, Jeremy Nicholas, said: “Telstra is proud to support women’s rugby league as the naming rights partner of the NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership.”

“The expansion of this season’s Premiership is something we are excited to be part of.

“An expanded premiership provides greater career opportunities for aspiring professional female athletes, more games to watch for more fans and a deeper connection to communities in Newcastle, the Gold Coast, and Parramatta.

“This is such a positive for participation at all levels of the game and for encouraging participation for women in sport more broadly and all the physical and mental health benefits that provides.

“We’re excited to see the continued vibrant future for women in rugby league and can’t wait to see all the teams take the field this Sunday,” Nicholas said.

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