The NRL has received submissions from the Rugby League Player’s
Association (RLPA) over its move to force players and managers to sign
statutory declarations whenever a new contract is agreed.

push for statutory declarations emerged in the wake of this year’s
salary cap scandal involving the Melbourne Storm and was immediately
opposed by the RLPA.

The player’s association is believed to
have reservations about the statutory declarations because a player may
not be aware of what he can expect to be paid.

But NRL chief executive David Gallop feels the RLPA’s concerns are misguided.

the NRL has agreed to continue the suspension of the clause’s
implementation ahead of a possible meeting with the association in the
next few days.

“Pleasingly, the RLPA does recognise the need for
greater transparency on the part of players and agents but by seeking
to avoid the logical step of signing a statutory declaration they have
put forward a process that is both complicated and half-baked,” Gallop
said in a statement on Tuesday.

“It is one that does not
actually provide any further onus on the player or his manager to
attest that the contract amount is accurate.

“Indeed if a person
was not going to provide the correct information in the first place,
why would they do so after a fourteen day period?

“The existing
contract already provides for the NRL to seek declarations where it may
require them and the Total Remuneration Declaration simply requires it
as a matter of course going forward.”

The RLPA was given five days by the NRL last week to review the clause and report back with its concerns.

release by the NRL says the main issue arising from the RLPA submission
was a fear that a player may not know what he expects to be paid or
that a club and manager may collude to insert extra benefits that a
player is unaware of.

“If the RLPA wishes to advise its players
to check with the NRL that the contract matches their understanding of
the deal before signing the statutory declaration then we would be
happy to support that,” he said.

But Gallop said something must
be done in the wake of the Storm scandal where there were cases of two
contracts being signed, with the hope that possible legal action would
dissuade such outcomes in the future.

“The statutory declaration
is a final reminder to the player to ensure that he and his manager
each understand the importance of declaring that the information is
honestly put forward and is to the best of their knowledge accurate,”
he said.

“The sinister notion that has been attached to a
statutory declaration in this circumstance is a scare tactic to avoid
the simple responsibility that the players and their agents agree to be
up-front about what is in the contract.”

– AAP ej