It’s not good enough I’m over it.From Zero Tackle,
"It's been a bit disappointing": Welch provides update on 'frustrating' pay dispute
Rugby League Players Association representative Christian Welch has claimed that bad faith leaks from league headquarters could see a resolution to the current Collective Bargaining Agreement disputes pushed back.
The Storm and Maroons star suggested on Sunday that fudged figures and an inability to break bread with the game's powerbrokers could see the simmering tensions between players and the payers stretch into the new year.
At present, the NRL has reportedly offered players a $1.3billion pay deal, which will cover the next five seasons of action. A spike of this size would result in the average player's salary increasing by 23 per cent across the life of the agreement.
With the game's governing body stressing that players' earning potential would be at a record high upon the agreement of a new collective bargaining agreement, Welch dismissed this notion, instead expressing that those at NRL HQ had botched their sums.
"All of the puppet journalists who have been fed all of those numbers, they aren't too good at maths," Welch told the ABC's Offsiders.
"They're talking about this record number of broadcast revenue for players, but they're only counting 30 players in the male teams. They're including the NRLW offer with the NRL offer, but they're not including any of the women's (figures).
"It's been a bit disappointing because there's have been comments like 'oh, we're not going to negotiate in the media', but then all of this leaked info - private, confidential info - (gets fed to media outlets)."
Welch, an MBA student with a self-professed "interest in the commercial side of sport", went on to say that having sat in these meetings with administrators, the players' respect had been taken for granted.
"I'm on the board for the RLPA, and I've been in some of those negotiations, and I think we've been really respectful, to be honest, throughout the year," the switched-on forward added.
The 28-year-old also contended that those holding the purse strings may not have been acting in good faith, stating that auditors had played a role in revealing the true value of the players' labour in a revenue-sharing split.
"There was $11 million on the table (from the game's heads), but we sent some auditors in, and it turns out there is $40 million in there buried," Welch continued.
"No one really talks about the broadcast deal that was negotiated early in the middle of the pandemic. I understand why Fox and Channel Nine don't want to talk about that, for obvious reasons, but I think we've really acted in good faith and it's really frustrating to see how it's playing out at the moment."
Though current negotiations affect the fortunes of all players, Welch was at pains to highlight just how precarious the situation was for those within NRLW circles.
Despite claiming the World Cup with their own victory at Old Trafford on Sunday morning, Australian time, members of Brad Donald's Jillaroos squad were risking far more than just pride during their 54-4 romp over the Kiwis.
"The people that are suffering now are the women. We're going to do our first CBA for the NRLW, so all of those women that won that World Cup tonight, they can't sign any contracts with NRL clubs at the moment," Welch empathised.
"If one of them did an ACL overnight, the likelihood of them securing a contract for next year, there's no chance of it.
"It's been pretty disappointing, to be honest, but hopefully we can build a healthier relationship with the NRL, and really build towards a really positive next five years, which, hopefully, be a CBA."
The Storm prop's refreshingly open comments come just days after teammate Harry Grant expressed that those earning south of his seven-figure salary would be "better off getting on the tools" rather than signing an agreement within the current climate.
Grant's open chiding of league administrators was echoed by Eels and Kiwis half Dylan Brown who was happy to stand in the rake's corner, despite competing on different sides for both club and country.
NRL players and clubs entered the new contractual year on November 1, meaning off-contract players could commence negotiations with rival clubs in the market.