May 28th NRL restart planned without CEO Todd Greenberg

May 28th NRL restart planned without CEO Todd Greenberg
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 15: NRL CEO Todd Greenberg (L) and ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys (R) speak to the media during a NRL press conference at Rugby League Central on March 15, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The intended May 28th date to restart the 2020 NRL Telstra Premiership will now be planned for without the input of CEO Todd Greenberg, who has been stood down with immediate effect.

Somewhat foretold over the last few months, the mutual agreement to depart his role was made with the Australian Rugby League Commission’s agreement. And as it takes effect immediately, the intended timeline to restart the 2020 competition will be undertaken under the direction of the NRL’s chief commercial officer, Andrew Abdo; who is taking over as acting CEO.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys thanked Greenberg for his contribution to the game. “The role of chief executive of the NRL is one of the most challenging and difficult roles in Australian sport, with a diversity of passionate stakeholders,” V’landys said in a statement.

“The ARLC thanks Todd for his contribution to the game over the last seven years and as chief executive for the last four years.”

May 28th NRL restart planned without CEO Todd Greenberg

The timeline for rugby league to recommence its season, has been questioned ever since it was floated in early April. May 28th is still six weeks away, yet the massive task of overcoming the Coronavirus pandemic is continuing around the world. So while ambitious, it was to begin with, seen as arrogant.

That behaviour was something that many in rugby league circles, found Greenberg exhibited. It was a degree of supremacy, and in times of national crisis, his offhand nature agitated the blue-collar clubs and stakeholders.

It appears that with consideration of that group, and not wanting the delicate balance of meeting both Health and Safety, as well as Human Resources, Todd Greenberg has made one decision that may comply to the will of the majority.

Now it seems, the concentration of the Rugby League governing body can focus on May 28th. Although, that is still to be affirmed – still to be accepted by many as ‘tangible’ and Safe.

Targeted restarting of 2020 NRL season ‘intangible’ to some

Keeping players isolated from the rest of the population also means no fans at stadiums. “The crowd element is out of our control that’s up to government policy. If we have to play without crowds for the remainder of the year we will,” was one statement from the NRL.

Views and opinions of many stakeholders and pundits are still not entirely in support of the May 28th timeline. Understandable when the Coronavirus has taken lives all across Australia, and some see it as revenue gathering rather than for the good of the game.

ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys has stressed one of the main reasons the NRL is so determined to restart the Telstra Premiership is because of concerns surrounding the competition break’s impact on the mental health of players and staff.

Like Australian society in general, the NRL community has been dealing with the impact of depression and suicide over the past decade and regardless of whether the proposed May 28th return date occurs, there was a long way to go for society to return to normal.

In essence, the sport must engage with State and Federal officials, to meet and to answer questions that are being raised by health officials and stakeholders. Wayne Pearce’s innovation committee, which is set to finalize the season structure based on the advice of the broadcasters, government officials, and the ARL commission.

Todd Greenberg a divisive figure in NRL circles

Four years into his role, former CEO Todd Greenberg had appeared to ‘rub people the wrong way’. Some were clashes in personality yet, when it came to a critical crisis point in the game, that breakdown in relationships forced the hand of the ARL to end Greenberg’s appointment prematurely.

Abdo has become a favourite of V’landys since he took over as chairman of the Commission and according to Nine News reporter Danny Weidler, the South African is a strong candidate to take the role permanently.

“This is a massive story in rugby league,” Weidler added.

“The Commission is due to meet tomorrow, TV rights are being renegotiated because of this entire crisis, and obviously the negotiations couldn’t go ahead any more if Todd Greenberg was still going to be the CEO because, one of the major partners, the Nine network, had lost complete trust in Todd Greenberg.”

Now, as the transition of CEO role sees a period where acting chief executive Andrew Abdo will lead the organization, fans will have to wait patiently as the process takes its course. May 28th looms, yet there are still important steps for the NRL to take, before a whistle is blown for ‘Game on’.

 

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