The unpopular CEO of the National Rugby League, Todd Greenberg, resigned his position yesterday with media reports suggesting his relationship with the 16 clubs and chief broadcaster Nine meant he jumped before he was ultimately pushed.
Greenberg – who had been in the role for four years – has worn much of the blame for the precarious financial position the NRL finds itself in during the coronavirus crisis, copping much of the criticism for mismanaging funds after securing a $1.8 billion broadcast TV rights deal.
Arguably, Greenberg’s fate was sealed earlier this month when the game’s chief broadcaster, Nine, launched a scathing attack on NRL management, accusing the league of mismanagement and breaking its lucrative broadcast deal.
In a statement, an anonymous Nine spokesperson said: “At Nine we had hoped to work with the NRL on a solution to the issues facing rugby league in 2020, brought on so starkly by COVID-19.”
Greenberg wanted to fast-track the NRL – currently on CV-19 hiatus – back by mid-May, something Nine was unhappy about. There had also been media reports that Seven would swoop on the rights if Nine backed out.
Nine’s chief league correspondent, Danny Weidler, yesterday telling Big Sports Breakfast that, “I don’t think it will just be Todd Greenberg [going]” before adding, “I think you’re going to find a lot of people at the NRL will not keep their positions.”
According to reports on today’s The Australian, Greenburg’s fate was sealed when it was revealed a number of clubs had approached him about restarting the season but had received no replies.
The Oz is reporting that the NRL’s chief commercial officer Andrew Abdo – who has been appointed as acting chief executive – is the frontrunner to replace Greenburg who leaves a $1.2 million annual salary and $200,000 in bonuses.
On his resignation, Greenberg said: “It has been my great honour and privilege to be the (chief executive) of the NRL for the last four years. Despite the variety of challenges and pressures I have loved every single minute of the journey.”
However, The SMH was a little more praising of Greenberg’s time at the helm. “Greenberg will be able to point to a raft of achievements during his years in the furnace. Sydney has more than $2 billion committed to stadia infrastructure, even if two-thirds of the projects remain incomplete; he has overseen the implementation of the controversial stand-down rule; and events such as Magic Round have been added under his watch.
“His greatest strength is undoubtedly the way he handled the media as the game has lurched from one crisis to the next. Some of his strongest supporters on the commission wanted him to stay on for that reason alone.”
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