‘No interest whatsoever’: V’landys denies power play to oust Abdo despite push from clubs
ARL Commission chair Peter V’landys has denied any interest in taking over from NRL chief executive despite a reported push from a handful of clubs for change to the sport’s leadership structure.
According to a report in the Sydney Morning Herald, there are clubs, including Melbourne, who would support V’landys becoming executive chair of the sport, a move which would make Abdo’s position as NRL CEO redundant.
There has been tension between Abdo and the clubs over issues such as the drawn-out collective bargaining agreement and the controversial move to play matches involving four selected teams in Las Vegas next month.
“No, no interest whatsoever,” V’landys told the SMH in response to the possibility of him assuming the role.
For that to happen, he would need to resign as CEO of Racing NSW and the ARL Constitution would have to be altered.
Storm chairman Matt Tripp was quoted in the report as saying the Storm “would not oppose it”.
“The more PVL has to do with the game of rugby league, the better off we will be as a club. He continues to drive great outcomes for the game and a full-time role would generate even more positive results for the code.”
V’landys added: “Although I much appreciate the support of the chairmen and CEOs, I’m not interested, especially considering we have an outstanding CEO.”
Abdo said “no one has ever mentioned that to me” when asked about the possibility of V’landys taking on an executive role.
“I have an excellent relationship with my chairman. We have worked well together for four years, and I am proud of the results we have achieved. Peter’s vision for the game and his drive to succeed motivates all of us.”
The speculation was triggered by a V’landys interview with NewsCorp published earlier this week in which he seemed to criticise Abdo for getting into arguments while also describing him as “one of the best CEOs I have ever worked with”.
“We all have weaknesses. I certainly do. Andrew needs to work on those areas he’s not strong on. But the game is very fortunate to have him.”
Constitutional change for V’landys to become executive chair would require the states to give it the green light but NSW and Queensland are in the midst of a feud with the ARL boss over funding so they would be extremely unlikely to vote for such a move.