The NRL has paved the way to increase the salary cap after agreeing to lift the annual grant to clubs by $200,000 per year for next season.
Money man ... David Gallop says increased revenues have allowed the NRL to increase its grant to the clubs. Source: The Daily Telegraph
The clubs' grant will rise from $3.45m to $3.65m in 2011, with a further rise to $3.75m in 2012, in changes decided upon by the NRL's partnership executive committee on Friday.
The committee has also agreed to a lift in the overall level of representative payments with the details of the payment schedules to be determined in the coming weeks.
The NRL said in a statement both moves created "a positive background for the review of the salary cap over the next few weeks".
They also follow a decision by the NRL to delay the registration period for new contracts from the close of round 13 to the close of round 17.
"The work we have done in growing revenue through sponsorship, merchandising and government support has allowed the partnership to look at the game's future revenue projections and increase the level of funding for the clubs beyond what was already budgeted," NRL chief executive David Gallop said.
"It goes without saying that the players should share in the benefits of that success but it is also important to remember that the game must aim to reach a point where the level of the grant matches the level of the salary cap [currently $4.1m].
"That parity is important to ensure that clubs can become more profitable and that they can in turn afford to grow player payments further in the future.
"In the meantime we need to ensure that we are growing player payments to the extent that can be afforded and the current review process that is being conducted is an important part of that.
"Without pre-empting that review we expect that there will be a significant lift in the overall cap and in representative payments."