NRL clubs agree on independent commission

The Australian Rugby League says it won't be rushed into a March 12 deadline to establish an independent commission for the game.

Representatives from all 16 NRL clubs on Monday voted to support having the commission up and running by the start of the season but ARL chief executive Geoff Carr said that would only happen if there was a suitable agreement with News Limited.

The ARL and News Limited are each 50 per cent owners of the NRL.

"The objective for ARL and News Limited as far as I know is that in principle we agree to a commission but we've got to get it right," Carr said tonight.

"If it's achieved by then, well and good, but if it's still got some problems you've just got to be careful you're not dealing with an unrealistic deadline.

"Certainly there's no doubt that both the current partners have got a desire to work towards a commission.

"They're doing so and they may well do it by then but that shouldn't be the be all and end all - the date. The result is important, not the date.

"If it's the wrong result at that time you've got to be realistic."

Monday's meeting in Sydney brought together NRL chief executives, chairmen, coaches and club captains.

After hearing a one hour presentation on how the commission negotiations were progressing and what shape the future authority on the game would take, three resolutions were reached.

They were:

* The 16 NRL clubs represented agreed to create, and to support, an independent commission for the administration of rugby league in Australia;

* The commission is to be truly independent from its inception;

* The date for the establishment of the commission is to be the date of kick-off of the 2010 NRL season if possible.

South Sydney chief executive Shane Richardson, who has played a leading role in the move to establish a commission, said the backing of the clubs was an important step for the game.

"This is the first time in the history of the game that not only are the clubs on board but also the coaches and the players," Richardson said.

"It's a very important statement and I've got no doubt the members and fans are absolutely supportive of it too.

"It's an opportunity for the ARL and News Limited to hand the game back to the game itself."

Brisbane chief executive Bruno Cullen said one of the key components to the new commission would be its independence.

"While the NRL Partnership Committee would select the initial members it wouldn't be a case of the ARL select three and News Limited pick three delegates," Cullen said.

"We would seek from the partners that it would be a truly independent commission with absolutely no allegiance to the existing owners of the game or the stakeholders of the clubs from the date of inception."

Penrith captain Petero Civoniceva said he was excited by the proposed commission and that NRL players were fully behind the move.

"I think with just the people in the room, all the club captains and CEOs, it's just a sign of the support the concept has," Civoniceva told AAP.

"For us as players it was really enjoyable to sit in on the meeting and hear the whole process that has been taken over the past year or so.

"It's pretty exciting."

Sourced from: The New Zealand Herald/AAP