NRL rights talks under control despite Gallop exit, Grant says

John Grant, chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission, which is responsible for brokering the National Rugby League’s domestic media rights, said that talks over the next cycle were “under control” despite the shock departure of David Gallop as chief executive of the commission.

The commission said earlier today (Tuesday) that Gallop had reached a “mutual agreement” to step down.

Gallop’s departure has come at a critical time during the commission’s negotiations with broadcasters over a new five-year deal, from 2013 to 2017, for domestic coverage of the NRL, which is Australia’s top rugby league competition.

“David leaves with the broadcast negotiations under control following the appointment of [advisory firm] Greenhill Caliburn as lead negotiator and the new whole-of-game strategic plan well advanced,” Grant said. “The search for a new chief executive will commence immediately and, in the interim, NRL general manager of strategy, Shane Mattiske, who is leading the executive’s role in the broadcast negotiations and development of the whole-of-game strategic plan, has agreed to lead the business. We have a very capable senior leadership team that, with the support of the board, will ensure there is continuity until a new chief executive is appointed.”

Grant added that Gallop understood “the need for a fresh approach.”