Gallop confident NRL sponsors will stay
NRL boss David Gallop believes sponsors will stick by the code provided the governing body is seen to be doing its best to clean up the game’s image.
The NRL was forced into damage control for the umpteenth time this season on Tuesday following revelations Melbourne superstar Greg Inglis had been charged with assaulting his girlfriend Sally Robinson.
Inglis’ immediate playing future is up in the air ahead of his appearance in court on Wednesday, but questions are now being asked as to how many more off-field scandals the game’s sponsors will put up with.
“We’ve been in constant communication with our sponsors over the course of the year and certainly they expect to see action,” Gallop said on Tuesday.
“But if they feel that matters are being dealt with appropriately then I’m confident they’ll stay on board.”
The NRL said they would wait and see what occurred in court on Wednesday before pre-empting any additional punishment on top of the indefinite ban imposed by the Storm.
But no matter what action the NRL take, it may not be enough to appease sponsors.
Already this year rugby league has been dragged through the mud thanks to a litany of scandals, starting with Manly fullback Brett Stewart – who co-starred with Inglis in the NRL’s advertising campaign at the start of the year – being charged with sexual assault following a boozy season launch.
Nine Network personality Matthew Johns was stood down indefinitely from his media and coaching commitments following the airing of a report into the group sex scandal which occurred during his time as a player with Cronulla in 2002.
That incident prompted Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond, whose company pours more than $1 million as a sponsor of the NSW Origin side, to put the NRL on notice.
” … It’s the minority creating these terrible incidents and we are demanding that the rugby league gets their act together to ensure that this sort of behaviour doesn’t continue because this behaviour is the opposite to what any sponsor wants,” Symond told ABC at the time.
Since then Sydney Roosters pair Sandor Earl and Jake Friend have been charged with assault following a nightclub incident, their Roosters teammate Nate Myles suspended for six games for defecating in the corridor of a Central Coast hotel, and accusations of alcohol and drug abuse aimed at members of the Queensland team ahead of Origin series finale.
Gallop said he was mindful of the hammering the game was copping from the mounting list of atrocities.
“It’s damaging of course, any one of these incidents is damaging but it’s important that the issues get dealt with appropriately,” Gallop said.
“The game has dealt with a lot of off-field issues this season and there’s no doubt that that’s frustrating and indeed disappointing.
“But the fact is individuals have to be accountable if they find themselves in the headlines for the wrong reasons and we’ve seen a club take decisive action and players are hopefully going to get the message that you won’t be playing football for a period if you find yourself in the headlines for the wrong reasons.”© AAP 2013