Robert Elstone: Super League chief executive takes 40% pay cut during coronavirus outbreak

By Dave WoodsBBC rugby league correspondent
Super League chief executive Robert Elstone
Robert Elstone joined Super League in 2018 after a spell at Everton Football Club

Super League's chief executive Robert Elstone is taking a 40% cut in wages during the current coronavirus crisis.

The other executives at the body that represents rugby league's 12 top-flight clubs will all take a 35% cut.

Talks between Super League and city financiers in a bid to secure private equity funding for the sport have been put on hold because of the outbreak.

Clubs had also been hoping to advance negotiations for a new TV deal, with the current agreement ending in 2021.

Those have also been put on hold as the Super League executive and the clubs battle to stay in business in the short term.

McDermott's plan to complete season

Meanwhile, Toronto Wolfpack head coach Brian McDermott has proposed shortening matches to 60 minutes rather than 80 minutes, and playing in four quarters rather than two halves, if clubs are forced to play three times a week in order to complete the season this year.

Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington has suggested that it might be necessary to play three games a week later in the year to fulfil the fixture list.

And he said he did not want to hear anyone "whinging or whining" about player welfare.

But McDermott, a former Bradford and Great Britain international, said in an open letter: "Whatever is decided upon as the best format in the timeframe available, it is going to take something remarkable by the players.

"It goes without saying that they are physically tough, it's a given. But we also need to find a way of preserving them and the viability of the product on offer."

McDermott said there was a danger of damaging the spectacle if too much was loaded on the players. And he said games would become slow and laborious because teams would not have the necessary energy.

But he believes 60 minute games could be an answer.

"From a coach's point of view, in my experience, those who would normally play 80 minutes, but have been substituted for the final 15 or 20 minutes, have reported back how much fresher they feel 48 hours afterwards," added McDermott, a four-times Grand Final winning coach with Leeds.

"Condensing the match to an hour will add to, rather than lessen, the intensity.

"We've had four quarters before when the weather has been hot, so it is not an entirely foreign concept."

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