This article details what is commonly referred to as the Super League war, which was fought in and out of court during the mid-1990s by the News Ltd-backed Super League and Kerry Packer-backed Australian Rugby League organisations over control of the top-level professional rugby league football competition of Australasia. News Corporation (often abbreviated to News Corp) (,,) is one of the world's largest media conglomerate companies by Market capitalisation This article details the year of rugby league run by Super League (Australia. Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer, AC (17 December 1937 &ndash 26 December 2005 son of Sir Frank Packer, was an Australian publishing media and gaming tycoon The Australian Rugby League (ARL is the governing body for the Sport of Rugby league in Australia History See also History of rugby league The grass roots of rugby league can be traced to early football history, through the playing of ball games
Prior to News Corporation's Super League proposal, the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) and Australian Rugby League (ARL) had planned to rationalise the number of Sydney teams. News Corporation (often abbreviated to News Corp) (,,) is one of the world's largest media conglomerate companies by Market capitalisation The New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL is the governing body for the Sport of Rugby league in New South Wales and is a member of the Australian Rugby The Australian Rugby League (ARL is the governing body for the Sport of Rugby league in Australia In July 1986 The Daily Telegraph reported:
Following the expansion of the competition throughout the 1980s and 90s many clubs were not financially viable in the long term. The NSWRL solution was to eject them from the competition when they no longer met prescribed criteria. Although Newtown were ejected from the competition in 1982, attempts to remove Western Suburbs were unsuccessful after court action. The Newtown Jets (formerly the Newtown "Bluebags") are a former first grade Rugby league club who departed the New South Wales Rugby Football League The Western Suburbs Magpies are a Rugby league football club in Sydney Australia Thereafter the NSWRL introduced an invitation-based system whereby it could fail to invite a club, thus excluding it. This left clubs without the security of continued participation in the premiership.
On 9 April 1992 A blueprint for the expansion of Rugby League was tabled by the Premiership Policy Committee of the NSWRL , followed in August by an Organization Review, by Dr G. Events 193 - Septimius Severus is proclaimed Roman Emperor by the army in Illyricum (in the Balkans) Year 1992 ( MCMXCII) was a Leap year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1992 Gregorian calendar) Bradley, which was distributed to the premiership clubs. The Bradley Report, as it became known, was central to the ARL replacing the NSWRL as the governing body of the premiership. The report concluded that:
Each club received a letter of invitation for the 1995 season on 2nd May, 1994. Events 1194 - King Richard I of England gives Portsmouth its first Royal Charter. Year 1994 ( MCMXCIV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar) Included were a number of admission criteria including the ability to "attract a minimum average home attendance of 10,000 people". Balmain, Easts, Gold Coast, Illawarra, Parramatta, Penrith, Souths, St George and Wests failed this criteria for 1995 . The Balmain Tigers (also known as the Sydney Tigers from 1995-96 were one of the founding rugby league football clubs of the New South Wales Rugby League premiership Gold Coast were a Rugby league team which played in the New South Wales Rugby League premiership from 1988 to 1994, the Australian Rugby The Illawarra Steelers are an Australian Rugby league football club based in the city of Wollongong New South Wales. The St George Dragons were a team in the National Rugby League competition in Australia After the privately owned Brisbane Broncos transferred a 20% share of their company to Northern Rivers Ltd, the new shareholders received the following:
News Corporation had been involved with rugby league since 1985 when a News subsidiary took charge of the merchandising division of the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL). The New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL is the governing body for the Sport of Rugby league in New South Wales and is a member of the Australian Rugby They were responsible for wholesale and retail sales of jerseys, footballs, socks and other memorabilia. The net income of the marketing division rose from $700 in 1982 to $700,000 in 1991 .
In the early 1990s News Corporation began to acquire the broadcast rights to popular sports in order to build pay television viewership. News Corporation (often abbreviated to News Corp) (,,) is one of the world's largest media conglomerate companies by Market capitalisation Significant purchases included:
At this time in Australia Optus began competing with Telstra for the local telephony market. SingTel Optus Pty Limited is the second largest Telecommunications company in Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications Telstra or Telstra Corporation (often abbreviated as Telstra Corp) () is an Australian Telecommunications and media company formerly Both carriers developed comprehensive strategies involving the rollout of billions of dollars worth of cable capable of providing the end user with additional services, including Internet and pay television. The Internet is a global system of interconnected Computer networks
In 1993 Kerry Packer had purchased the broadcasting rights for rugby league on free-to-air television until 2000 for $80,000,000, with pay television rights included for free. Year 1993 ( MCMXCIII) was a Common year starting on Friday (link will display full 1993 Gregorian calendar) Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer, AC (17 December 1937 &ndash 26 December 2005 son of Sir Frank Packer, was an Australian publishing media and gaming tycoon Despite the fact that there was no pay television service launched in Australia at the time, overseas experience had shown that once pay television became available in Australia, these rights would be worth a substantial amount of money to the game. News approached the ARL in 1994 with a view to purchasing the pay television rights. "We're looking for Pay TV rights. You can still have free-to-air rights," News Limited Chief Executive Ken Cowley told Ken Arthurson. Kenneth Richard "Arko" Arthurson AM (born 1 October 1929 in Glebe New South Wales) is an Australian former Rugby league Cowley was advised to consult with Packer. Whilst rugby league would receive no additional benefit on their pay television rights, Packer was in a position to on-sell these rights for a substantial profit. History See also History of rugby league The grass roots of rugby league can be traced to early football history, through the playing of ball games This was later done in return for a 5% stake in Optus Vision, valued in the late 1990s at approximately $150,000,000. SingTel Optus Pty Limited is the second largest Telecommunications company in Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications
Pay television was introduced to Australia in the mid 1990s with cables being laid down by Optus and Telstra. SingTel Optus Pty Limited is the second largest Telecommunications company in Australia, and is a wholly owned subsidiary of Singapore Telecommunications Telstra or Telstra Corporation (often abbreviated as Telstra Corp) () is an Australian Telecommunications and media company formerly Each of these telecommunications companies was aligned with a pay television company: Optus with Optus Television (partially owned by Kerry Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Limited and Seven Network) and Telstra with Foxtel (owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and the then Government-owned Telstra). Optus Television is the Cable television division of Australian Telecommunications company Optus. Kerry Francis Bullmore Packer, AC (17 December 1937 &ndash 26 December 2005 son of Sir Frank Packer, was an Australian publishing media and gaming tycoon Publishing and Broadcasting Limited ( PBL) was one of Australia's largest companies with interests primarily in media and gaming The Seven Network is an Australian television network, owned by the Seven Media Group. Foxtel is an Australian Pay television company formed through a joint venture between Telstra, News Corporation and Consolidated Media is gay Bold text' Keith Rupert Murdoch', AC, KCSG (born Melbourne, March 11 1931 usually known as Rupert Murdoch, is an Australian-American News Corporation (often abbreviated to News Corp) (,,) is one of the world's largest media conglomerate companies by Market capitalisation Telstra or Telstra Corporation (often abbreviated as Telstra Corp) () is an Australian Telecommunications and media company formerly Both Foxtel and Optus sought the exclusive rights to rugby league. Telstra did not consider a lack of rugby league product as acceptable, and the decision was made that rugby league had to be included on Telstra's cable. History See also History of rugby league The grass roots of rugby league can be traced to early football history, through the playing of ball games
On 6 February 1994 Packer declared himself to be the owner of all broadcast rights for rugby league in Australia, and that all clubs, as members of the ARL, were bound by it. Events 46 BC - Julius Caesar defeats the combined army of Pompeian followers and Numidians under Metellus Scipio Year 1994 ( MCMXCIV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar) He threatened to "sue the arse off" any club that stepped out of line. In 1994 the NSWRL invited News to appoint a nominee to sit on the NSWRL Board. The Australian Rugby League (ARL) offered News naming rights to the first grade competition for $8,000,000 in cash and kind. The Australian Rugby League (ARL is the governing body for the Sport of Rugby league in Australia The ARL would not budge on the cash component being a minimum of $4,000,000, and News rejected the offer, as it believed the in-kind component, which would mainly come from Ansett (in which News had a controlling stake) would exceed $4,000,000.
The structure for an alternate rugby league competition was outlined in an internal News document entitled Superleague on 12 August 1994. Events 1099 - First Crusade: Battle of Ascalon - Crusaders under the command of Godfrey of Bouillon defeat Fatimid Year 1994 ( MCMXCIV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link will display full 1994 Gregorian calendar) The objective was to form a News-owned company called Superleague Limited that would establish an elite Australasian rugby league competition with 12 privately owned teams, four of which would be owned by News. An internationally televised World Club Series would also be contested amongst clubs from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain,is a Sovereign state located News would receive a 15% management fee, profit sharing from the clubs it owned and other benefits. Revenue would be derived from sponsorship, free-to-air and pay television rights, gate takings and merchandising. The projected operational profit was $5 million by 1997 and $12 million by 1999 .
One objective of the proposal was "to ensure that no other competition could exist in competition to Superleague". Accordingly, it was considered necessary to have at least four teams based in Sydney in order to maintain the game's largest base, and to ensure that all teams were privately owned. To ensure this outcome, the following steps were outlined:
The document noted that the co-operation of players and some clubs was essential for the new competition. It acknowledged that compensation might have to be offered to unwanted players and teams, and that it would be difficult to use current names and logos.
On 17 October, the board of the ARL resolved to hold a special board meeting to discuss several issues, including Super League and a "reduction in the number of Sydney teams". Events 539 BC - King Cyrus The Great of Persia marches into the city of Babylon, releasing the Jews from almost Three days later ARL Chairman Ken Arthurson warned the Brisbane Broncos that they faced expulsion over their involvement with Super League. He told the Sydney Morning Herald that "the League has the right, as you well know, to deny admission to any team in the Winfield Cup" Nonetheless, reports of a proposed breakaway competition continued, and on 6 November Arthurson rang Quayle from England and instructed him to inform the President of each club that he wished to discuss the signing of 3 to 5 year loyalty agreements in order to continue playing in the premiership. The Sydney Morning Herald ( SMH) is a daily Broadsheet Newspaper published by Fairfax Media in Sydney, Australia Winfield Cup was an Australian Rugby league trophy awarded to the winner of the New South Wales Rugby League premiership 's (NSWRL Grand Final from 1982 Events 355 - Roman Emperor Constantius II promotes his cousin Julian to the rank of Caesar, entrusting him with
A meeting was held between Arthurson, Quayle, Cowley and Graham Lovett at the offices of News on 10 November. Events 1444 - Battle of Varna: The crusading forces of King Vladislaus III of Varna (aka Ulaszlo I of Hungary and Wladyslaw After querying the rumours of a breakaway competition, Arthurson was informed by Cowley that News would like to see a twelve team competition "with or without" the ARL, and that News was "seeking a slice of the television cake". Four days later, Arthurson had a further conversation with Cowley in which he stated that he would "never give ground on. . . the idea that in any game in which News Limited participates, the control of the game must rest with the ARL". Cowley replied that a proposal was being prepared for the ARL. In a meeting with each of the clubs, Arthurson reiterated that "the one thing that was not negotiable was the fact that we would never be a party to the accepted authority of the game losing control". He concluded that as "we've got all the players tied up and all the clubs tied up, it's pretty difficult to" start another competition.
News began developing the Super League proposal for presentation to the ARL and its clubs, the final draft of which was presented to News representatives on 13 December. Events 1294 - Saint Celestine V abdicates the papacy after only five months Celestine hoped to return to his previous life It concluded that the economics of an Australian Super League were attractive compared to the existing competition. Three strategies where identified for its implementation:
The proposed structure of the competition included:
Arthurson responded to this proposal saying that it was "totally unacceptable" and reiterating that each club "had signed an agreement drafted by the League's legal advisers committing themselves to remaining with the League for the next five years and not to play with any other organisation. "
On 22 December News sent five clubs - Brisbane, Canberra, Newcastle, Cronulla-Sutherland and the Western Reds - a document entitled Super League Confidentiality Deed. Events 1790 - The Turkish fortress of Izmail is stormed and captured by Suvorov and his Russian armies The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks are an Australian professional Rugby league team based in Cronulla New South Wales in the Sutherland Shire, south of Sydney The purpose of this document was obtain feedback from these clubs with the view to making small adjustments prior a full presentation to the ARL in February. Throughout January 1995 News developed a presentation for the ARL and met with officials from the Auckland, Cronulla-Sutherland, Illawarra and St George clubs. The St George Dragons were a team in the National Rugby League competition in Australia On 25 January ACP provided News with a report entitled Superleague Options that identified the "current proposal" as "News Super League via Clubs/ARL". Events 41 - After a night of negotiation Claudius is accepted as Roman Emperor by the Senate It proposed that Super League would fund the ARL ($3,000,000 per annum), the clubs ($2,500,000 per annum) and Super League Europe. News was also to take a management fee and buy pay television rights for $4,000,000 per annum. News did not agree with these figures.
News presented its proposal to the ARL on 30 January. Events 1648 - Eighty Years' War: The Treaty of Münster is signed ending the conflict between the Netherlands and Spain The key points were.
This Super League proposal was an alternative to the existing ARL plan of a 14 team competition outlined in The Bradley Report which the ARL was already in the process of implementing. However, a solid financing would be made available to the League. In terms of Free-to-air television (FTA) rights, Kerry Packer retained the rights to the 20 team competition and would have been eligible to bid for the FTA rights to the new 12 team Super League.
Three days later the ARL faxed a letter to each club three delegates to a meeting on 6 February to obtain "their position in relation to the 'Super League' proposal and the League role, if any, in that proposal" and to give the clubs "some certainty about their future". Events 46 BC - Julius Caesar defeats the combined army of Pompeian followers and Numidians under Metellus Scipio At this meeting News presented the Super League proposal concept to the clubs' representatives, reaffirming the role of the ARL. After the News representatives had left the meeting, Arthurson confirmed that the ARL "does not want to be part of the News proposal" and sought from each club a statement of its position. The clubs that had not signed a confidentiality agreement with News expressed their commitment to the ARL, whereas the representatives of Brisbane, Canberra, Newcastle and the Western Reds indicated that they would only play in a competition owned by the ARL. All clubs were then reminded by the ARL's solicitor, Colin Love, that "you all signed an agreement to remain loyal to the League for the next five years. Colin Love AM, (born January 25 1945 in Australia) is currently the Chairman of the Rugby League International Federation, . . (and) this agreement will withstand any legal challenge". A motion was unanimously carried that "it be recommended to the Board of Directors of the League that any clubs not signing the new Agreement by 9 am on 8 February 1995, or in the case of the Western Reds by 9 am on Thursday 9 February 1995 be expelled from the 1995 competition. Events 421 - Constantius III becomes co- Emperor of the Western Roman Empire. Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 Events 474 - Zeno crowned as co-emperor of the Byzantine Empire. Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 " News was then informed that the clubs had unanimously rejected the Super League proposal.
On 7 February 1995 the ARL faxed a letter to each clubs, accompanied by a draft deed that was to be signed by 9am the following day. Events 457 - Leo I becomes emperor of the Byzantine Empire. 1074 - Battle of Montesarchio in which the Prince Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 The letter stated that:
The coersive approach employed to signing this legal agreement was ruled in later litigation to be in breach of the Trade Practices Act. The Trade Practices Act 1974 is an act of the Parliament of Australia.
It should be noted that Mr John Ribot gave evidence that he had a telephone conversation with Mr Cowley shortly after the meeting of 6 February 1995. John Ribot (born John Ribot de Bressac on 3 March, 1955) is an Australian sports administrator and former Rugby league footballer of the 1970s Events 46 BC - Julius Caesar defeats the combined army of Pompeian followers and Numidians under Metellus Scipio Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 In that conversation, Mr Ribot expressed the view that, having regard to the ARL's attitude at the meeting, it would not be possible to proceed with the Super League competition in its then form. According to Mr Ribot, Mr Cowley had replied that he would like Mr Ribot to speak to Mr Smith "about putting a different proposal together to progress the matter". Mr Ribot also gave evidence that about a fortnight after the meeting of 6 February 1995, he had several conversations with Mr Smith. Events 46 BC - Julius Caesar defeats the combined army of Pompeian followers and Numidians under Metellus Scipio Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 Mr Smith had indicated that he needed to put in place a strategy to overcome the ARL's refusal to support the Super League proposal.
At least one loyal club took the view that Super League, perhaps in an altered version, was not out of the question. In a letter dated 16 February 1995, Mr Hudson, the chairman of the board of Manly Warringah, wrote to Mr Quayle: "there are great advantages for News Limited in getting their current proposal, or some version of it, finally accepted. Events 1249 - Andrew of Longjumeau is dispatched by Louis IX of France as his ambassador to meet with the Khan of the Mongols Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 The Manly - Warringah Sea Eagles are an Australian professional Rugby league club based on the Northern Beaches of Sydney Hence, we feel that the proposition is not 'dead and buried' and that attempts to de-stabilise the competition will continue. There is a vulnerability in this which News Limited have identified. Their twelve (12) team competition has just four (4) teams in Sydney. They can see that a Sydney club can only survive with great difficulty financially and logistically, against the competition provided by one city clubs, and now (for Brisbane) a two (2) club city. If the situation of the eleven (11) teams in Sydney is not addressed in some way by the League, the threat of a take-over, or such like, will continue to loom large. We suggest that a plan to address the problems of the eleven (11) Sydney clubs vis-a-vis their colleagues in other cities and in other states is urgently needed. " The letter went on to request that the question of the Sydney clubs be considered by the Premiership Policy Committee on an urgent basis.
The committee did consider the letter at its meeting of 14 March 1995. Events 1489 - The Queen of Cyprus, Catherine Cornaro, sells her kingdom to Venice. Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 The meeting (at which Mr Quayle was present) unanimously agreed that the "future structure of the Winfield Cup competition should contain fewer Sydney clubs". The committee also expressed the view that "the Board should convene as soon as possible to demonstrate leadership on the issue of fewer Sydney clubs".
The Premiership Policy Committee decided to push forward with a plan to reduce the number of Sydney teams before any player, coach or club had moved to Super League. The ARL had handed out loyalty agreements for the clubs to sign, then immediately went about a plan to get rid of clubs.
In the meantime, a meeting of the board of the League, held on 20 February 1995, received a report from the League's solicitor, Mr Love, that all clubs, except Brisbane and Canberra, had signed Loyalty Agreements. Events 1472 - Orkney and Shetland are left by Norway to Scotland, due to a Dowry payment Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 The board agreed to accept the amendments proposed by Canberra and to have Mr Love continue to negotiate with the Brisbane Broncos on outstanding issues. Agreement appears to have been reached shortly thereafter.
In mid-March 1995 a meeting took place between Mr Cowley and Mr Arthurson. The minutes of the ARL's board meeting of 24 March 1995 record Mr Arthurson's report of that discussion. Events 1401 - Mongol emperor Timur sacks Damascus. 1603 - James VI of Scotland Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 According to Mr Arthurson's account, the discussion had been cordial. Mr Cowley had assured him that News would still be pursuing the principle of Super League, but had given an assurance that any proposals in respect of its establishment would be made directly to the ARL and not to the club.
On 16 March 1995 (2 days after the Premiership Policy Committee had already committed itself to a reduction of clubs), Mr Arthurson wrote to each of the clubs, referring to the meeting with Mr Cowley. Events 597 BC - Babylonians capture Jerusalem, replace Jehoiachin with Zedekiah as king Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 The letter included the following: "Mr Cowley has given me an assurance that, even though News Limited supports the principle of a Super League, any further approaches to clubs will be made through the Australian Rugby League. I accept that these assurances were given to me in good faith and I will keep you informed of any further developments if we are approached by News Limited in the future. That is the positive news. Unfortunately, I have also been presented with evidence that representatives from some clubs have been speaking with representatives of News Limited in relation to the participation of these clubs in a Super League, after the clubs signed the loyalty deed. It is important that all clubs realise that those clubs which have had discussions with News Limited regarding the Super League proposal after signing the loyalty deed, are likely to be in breach of their obligations in the deed. As Chairman of the Australian Rugby League, if I receive evidence of any clubs having any further discussions with News Limited or any other party in relation to their involvement in any other competition, I will consider such involvement a serious breach of the loyalty deed and I will be recommending that the ARL consider the expulsion of those clubs from the ARL competition and legal action under the deed.
On 23 March 1995, a meeting took place within News. Events 1174 - Jocelin, Abbot of Melrose, is elected Bishop of Glasgow. Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 The participants included Messrs Cowley, Smith and Ribot, together with Mr Rupert Murdoch. is gay Bold text' Keith Rupert Murdoch', AC, KCSG (born Melbourne, March 11 1931 usually known as Rupert Murdoch, is an Australian-American The notes for discussion at that meeting were in evidence, although not referred to by the trial Judge. The notes, which were presumably seen by Mr Murdoch, state that the first attempt to build an Australian Super League had been unsuccessful, because News had made some wrong assumptions. In particular, it had been assumed that the threat of clubs defecting to an alternative competition would pressure the ARL to accept the concept and that the ARL had the ability to grant television rights to News. News' position had been weakened because the clubs did not think that News would follow through with a rival competition outside the ARL. Moreover, Mr Packer had dominated events, in large measure because of his threat at the meeting of 6 February 1995 to sue clubs in the event of breach. Events 46 BC - Julius Caesar defeats the combined army of Pompeian followers and Numidians under Metellus Scipio Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 This threat had "spooked" club officials. What was needed, according to the notes, in order to set up a competition in 1997 or, perhaps, 1996, was a second, more aggressive approach. Building an Australian Super League to capture television rights would cost $60 million over four years. Super League would be owned and operated by News.
The key elements of the more aggressive approach were to:
a) Sign up all the players required for a ten team Australian competition, at approximately twice their current earnings;
b) Mount a challenge to the "Five Year Agreement" binding the clubs;
c) Credibly mount a rival Super League without the "ARL Establishment", even though the "best" outcome was for the ARL to co-operate.
Clearly enough, Mr Murdoch approved the option of the "rebel competition". Thereafter, detailed planning took place within the News organisation. The planning was recorded in a chart designated as the "war room" chart. The expression "war room" was apparently a reference to Mr Smith's office at News. The planning group prepared a schedule of about 200 target players, considered to be the ARL's "core playing strength" (a phrase used by Mr Raneberg, a consultant engaged by ACP). A "Presenter's Outline" was drafted, setting out, in effect, a sales pitch designed to persuade players contracted to ARL clubs to sign with Super League. Plans were formulated for approaches to be made to players and coaches in various parts of Australia and New Zealand. The plans included making travel arrangements under false names in order to preserve secrecy.
As all prospects to gain the PTV rights via a "friendly" alliance between News and the ARL were eliminated by Arthurson and Packer, News now embarked on a hostile takeover with the intent to pressure the ARL into a joint alliance. The key point being that a "new" competition resulted in new PTV rights being up for negotiation. The plan involved,
Firstly, sign the coaches and CEOs of the targeted clubs.
On or shortly after 28 March 1995, News entered contracts with the coaches of the Auckland, Canberra, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cronulla- Sutherland and Western Reds clubs. Events 37 - Roman Emperor Caligula accepts the titles of the Principate, entitled to him by the Senate. Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 The Bulldogs Rugby League Football Club (formerly Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and "The Berries") are an Australian professional Rugby league Each contract was constituted by a letter, countersigned by the particular coach. The term of the engagement in each case was three years, commencing three months after notice from News but no later than 1 January 1997. New Year See also New Year The Ancient Romans began their consular year on January 1st since 153 BC Year 1997 ( MCMXCVII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1997 Gregorian calendar Each coach received a signing-on fee on execution of the letter. Mr Ribot acknowledged in evidence that it was very important to sign up the coaches, since they were thought to be instrumental in News' success in signing up players. He also acknowledged that in most cases the approach to the coach was made with the knowledge of the chief executive of the club.
Next, sign the majority of the high profile players at the club. This would then put the club itself into a position where it had virtually no option but to move to Super League as without key playing staff and officials the team would be basically eliminated from the ARL competition through the team reduction process which was already in play.
On 30 March 1995 the present proceedings were instituted by News. Events 240 BC - 1st recorded Perihelion passage of Halley's Comet. Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 That evening, a number of Canterbury-Bankstown players attended a meeting at the request of their coach, Chris Anderson, who had already signed a contract with News. Christopher Anderson is an Australian former Rugby league footballer and coach The first the players knew of the meeting was at training, when they were asked to attend that evening. At the meeting, Mr Ribot and Mr Lachlan Murdoch spoke to the players about Super League. Lachlan Keith Murdoch (born September 8, 1971) is the elder son of media mogul Rupert Murdoch and the former Anna Torv Each player was then asked individually to sign a contract with a Super League company, which would require him to play full time in the new competition. The players were offered salaries of between $150,000 and $350,000 per annum, plus signing-on fees of between $50,000 and $100,000. The salaries, in general, were very much greater than the payments they were entitled to under their contracts with the Canterbury-Bankstown club. The players were not permitted to consult with their managers or families, nor were they permitted to take the contracts away with them. In the event, seven players signed contracts that night. The last contract was signed well after midnight. Each player who signed was handed a cheque for the amount of the agreed signing-on fee.
More or less the same process was repeated the following day, when a total of about twenty-six players from the Brisbane Broncos, Canberra and Cronulla-Sutherland clubs signed employment contracts with various Super League companies. In each case the coach supported the Super League approach. The salaries offered to these players ranged from $80,000 to $600,000 per annum. The signing-on fees varied from $20,000 to $100,000. Other players subsequently signed similar contracts, including thirteen Auckland Warriors players, who signed employment contracts on 2 April, 1995 in New Zealand.
Mr Cowley, when challenged by Mr Arthurson as to how his actions were consistent with his promise to approach through the front door, replied: "We thought that after we had bought your players that it would have such an effect on you that we would be better able to negotiate with you and come through the front door. "
Packer takes over the ARL and demands team reductions.
The board of the League met at 12 noon on 1 April 1995 to consider the Super League situation. Events 527 - Byzantine Emperor Justin I names his nephew Justinian I as co-ruler and successor to the throne Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 Three representatives of PBL (a Packer company involved in the operations of Channel Nine) and two from Optus and Optus Vision joined the meeting. Mr Powers, on behalf of PBL and Optus Vision, stated that these organisations would provide human and financial resources to assist the League in stemming defections to Super League. Mr Powers said that Channel Nine and Optus were prepared to commit $13-20 million. He also stated that the quid pro quo would include the League making some changes to accelerate the reduction of teams and the signing of player contracts with the ARL, instead of the clubs. The board resolved, that:
a) the Canterbury-Bankstown, Cronulla-Sutherland and Canberra clubs be requested to show cause why they should not be excluded from the competition;
b) a committee be established to identify and sign players to League agreements; and
c) Mr Leckie, representing PBL and Optus vision, be appointed as a director of the League.
In the course of the meeting, Peter "Bullfrog" Moore arrived. Peter "Bullfrog" Moore OAM ( 1932 - 5 July 2000) was an Australian Rugby league administrator particularly associated Mr Moore was a director of both the League and ARL. He was also a director and chief executive of Canterbury-Bankstown. Mr Moore had been actively involved in supporting Super League, and in securing the signature of the Canterbury-Bankstown coach (his son-in-law) to a Super League contract. Mr Moore offered his resignation from the League and ARL to Mr Arthurson outside the meeting. His offer was accepted.
Immediately after the meeting, the League issued a press release. This stated that any players or coaches who had agreed to be associated with News would not be considered for representative selection. It also warned that the ARL would vigorously pursue through the courts any player found to have breached his obligations to the ARL. The press release indicated that the League, with the support of Channel Nine and Optus, through Optus Vision, would commit substantial resources to establishing financial incentives for players to play exclusively in the ARL competition.
On 6 April 1995, News agreed to indemnify the Canberra Raiders against any action by the ARL or the League in consequence of the club contracting with News or supporting Super League. Events 46 BC - Julius Caesar defeats Caecilius Metellus Scipio and Marcus Porcius Cato in the Battle of Thapsus Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995
A further meeting of the board of the League took place on 7 April 1995. Events 529 - First draft of Corpus Juris Civilis (a fundamental work in Jurisprudence) is issued by Eastern Roman Emperor Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 Among other things, the board discussed the actions of News in completing arrangements with the New Zealand Rugby League and the English Rugby League. This was a matter of considerable significance to the League, since test matches between Australia, Great Britain and New Zealand had been conducted through the New Zealand and English Leagues.
A document dated 11 April 1995 summarised "deal terms" between the League and ARL and Channel Nine/Optus Vision. Events 491 - Flavius Anastasius becomes Byzantine Emperor, with the name of Anastasius I. Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 This provided for Channel Nine/Optus Vision to fund player contract commitments up to $40 million (This later grew to $93M plus a further $33M). The League and ARL were not to change the competition, format and frequency of the competition in a materially adverse way without the consent of Channel Nine/Optus Vision. The rights period under existing television agreements were to be extended for a further five years, with Channel Nine/Optus Vision to have a first and last right of refusal. Channel Nine/Optus Vision's funding commitment was non-recoupable, except as follows:
a) If the League and ARL agreed, it could be recouped over time out of fees received for television rights; b) It could be recouped out of monies received by the League and ARL for assignment of player contracts; c) The commitment could be used as a set-off against the cost of exercising the right of refusal for renewal of the television rights agreement.
News continue the pressure on clubs to jump to SL and take on all litigation risk.
During April, News made a concerted effort to sign up target clubs. By this stage, some had lost key personnel to Super League. Club representatives were told that if they did not join Super League, they would face rival clubs established in their area. Advertisements appeared in the media, giving publicity to the fact that prominent players had signed with Super League. News also placed advertisements advising players who had signed with the ARL that their contracts might be set aside because News had signed the English and New Zealand Rugby Leagues. Frequent meetings took place between News representatives and "rebel" clubs to obtain their support in implementing the proposed arrangements. In particular, meetings took place between News representatives and those clubs on 13 and 18 April 1995.
7 Clubs signed to Super League on 20 April: Auckland, Brisbane, Canberra, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cronulla-Sutherland, North Queensland and the Western Reds. Events 1303 - The University of Rome La Sapienza is instituted by Pope Boniface VIII. The North Queensland Cowboys are an Australian professional Rugby league football team based in Townsville Queensland. Penrith signed on 3 May. The Penrith Panthers is an Australian professional Rugby league football team Events 1491 - Kongo monarch Nkuwu Nzinga is baptised by Portuguese missionaries adopting the baptismal name of João
Extract from Super League Club Deed:
Clause 3(a) provided that, subject to certain conditions, News agreed to indemnify the club (inter alia): "(i) from any liability that Club may incur to ARL and or NSWRL under the Commitment Agreement or the Loyalty Agreement or both by reason of club entering into and delivering this deed or observing or performing the provisions hereof on its part to be observed or performed". By cl. 4(a) News also agreed to indemnify, again subject to certain conditions: "each of Club's directors and officers (each "Indemnified Party") from any liability that Indemnified Party may incur to ARL, NSWRL, Club, Club's members or any other person by reason of Club entering into and delivering this deed or observing or performing the provisions hereof on its part to be observed or performed". Deeds in this form were executed by Auckland, Brisbane, Canberra, Canterbury-Bankstown, Cronulla-Sutherland, North Queensland and the Western Reds. The deeds were expressed to be operative for periods of between three years (for example, Cronulla-Sutherland) and nine years (for example, Brisbane). Subsequently, on 4 May 1995, Penrith entered into a deed in similar terms, although the indemnity was wider, extending to liability under any joint venture arrangement. On 12 May 1995, the existence of the deeds to which the eight clubs were parties was publicly announced.
A total of 307 players and 10 coaches entered into Super League contracts. Of those, three players subsequently had their contract cancelled by agreement and four players had their contracts cancelled following proceedings in the New South Wales Industrial Commission. Consequently, at the date of the hearing of the appeal, 300 players were parties to the current Super League contracts. None of these had proceedings on foot seeking cancellation of the contracts. We were told that 42 of the 300 contracted players had signed on or prior to 2 April 1995. (On 1 April 1995, the League and ARL announced that it would be signing players in competition with Super League. ) Counsel representing the intervening coaches and players prepared a schedule listing the 300 players. The schedule specified, in each case, whether the player was party to an ARL club contract and, if so, the year in which the contract expired. A summary of the contractual status of the 300 players is as follows:
(i) Players who never had ARL club contracts - 28
(ii) Players who had ARL club contracts expiring in 1995 or earlier - 109
(iii) Players who had ARL contracts expiring in 1996 or later - 163
Of those in the third category, 30 had contracts expiring in 1997 and only 7 had contracts expiring later than 1997.
In February 3, 1995 the Brisbane Broncos started Federal Court action against the NSWRL over salary cap rules. On 30 March 1995 News commenced legal action against the ARL, NSWRL and six clubs, alleging breaches of the Trades Practices Act. Events 240 BC - 1st recorded Perihelion passage of Halley's Comet. Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995
The teams that signed to News were:
A new competition, to be called Star League, was announced on 1 April 1995 comprising these teams and the Adelaide Aces (later Adelaide Rams) and the Hunter Mariners. The New Zealand Warriors (formerly the Auckland Warriors) are a professional Rugby league team based in Auckland, New Zealand The Brisbane Broncos are an Australian professional Rugby league club based in the city of Brisbane Queensland. The Canberra Raiders are an Australian professional Rugby league football team based in the city of Canberra Australian Capital Territory. The Bulldogs Rugby League Football Club (formerly Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs and "The Berries") are an Australian professional Rugby league The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks are an Australian professional Rugby league team based in Cronulla New South Wales in the Sutherland Shire, south of Sydney The North Queensland Cowboys are an Australian professional Rugby league football team based in Townsville Queensland. The Penrith Panthers is an Australian professional Rugby league football team Events 527 - Byzantine Emperor Justin I names his nephew Justinian I as co-ruler and successor to the throne Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 The Adelaide Rams were a Rugby league football club based in Adelaide South Australia. The Hunter Mariners were an Australian Rugby league club based in the Hunter Valley region's largest city Newcastle. To ensure that it could have control of representative fixtures, News signed the Rugby Football League and New Zealand Rugby League organisations up on 6 April 1995. History See also History of rugby league On 27 August 1895 as a result of an emergency meeting in Manchester prominent Lancashire clubs Broughton Rangers The New Zealand Rugby League (NZRL is the governing body for the Sport of Rugby league in New Zealand. Events 46 BC - Julius Caesar defeats Caecilius Metellus Scipio and Marcus Porcius Cato in the Battle of Thapsus Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 In retaliation, the ARL did not select players signed to Super League clubs for representative fixtures in the 1995 season, including State of Origin and the World Cup. State of Origin is an annual best-of-three series of Rugby league matches between the Maroons, representing the state of Queensland, and the Blues The Rugby League World Cup is an international competition contested by the men's national rugby league teams of the member nations of the Rugby League International
On 25 September 1995 the ARL commenced legal action in the Federal Court of Australia to stop the new competition beginning in 1996 . Events 303 - On a voyage preaching the Gospel, Saint Fermin of Pamplona is beheaded in Amiens, France Year 1995 ( MCMXCV) was a Common year starting on Sunday. Events of 1995 The Federal Court of Australia is the Australian court in which most civil disputes and some summary criminal matters governed by federal law are decided Justice James Burchett handed down his findings on 23 February 1996 . Events 1455 - Traditional date for the publication of the Gutenberg Bible, the first Western Book printed from Movable Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar) He found that the ARL owned rights to all club colours, logos, names and jerseys. Justice Burchett said that News had acted with "dishonesty" and "duplicity".
Formal orders were given in the Federal Court on 11 March 1996 to prevent any alternative rugby league football competition being held until 2000. Events 1425 BC - Thutmose III, Pharaoh of Egypt, dies (according to the Low Chronology of the 18th Dynasty Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar) 2000 ( MM) was a Leap year that started on Saturday of the Common Era, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.  The scope of these orders was reduced on appeal to the Full Court on 13 March 1996, but still precluded the start of the Super League competition. Events 1138 - Cardinal Gregorio Conti is elected Antipope as Victor IV, succeeding Anacletus II. Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar) Rupert Murdoch described the court decision as "1-nil at half-time".
All Super League teams forfeited the first round of the ARL competition, except for the Auckland Warriors, who claimed two uncontested premiership points from their unplayed match against the Brisbane Broncos. Most Super League players played in the ARL season of 1996, with the notable exception of St George's Gorden Tallis who sat the season out, and did not play again until he joined the Brisbane Broncos in 1997. Gorden James Tallis (born 27 July, 1973 in Townsville Queensland) is an Australian former professional Rugby league footballer who Year 1997 ( MCMXCVII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1997 Gregorian calendar
British Rugby League boss Maurice Lindsay announced on 20 March 1996 that a new competition named Global League would be created, using the same players as the now-banned News competition, and featuring clubs such as the Cronulla Dolphins (instead of Sharks), Canberra Vikings (instead of Raiders) and Penrith Cats (instead of Panthers). For the Wigan Warriors Rugby League Chairman see Maurice Lindsay Maurice Lindsay (born July 21 1918 Events 1600 - The Linköping Bloodbath takes place on Maundy Thursday in Linköping, Sweden. Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar)
On October 4, 1996 Federal Court Justices John Lockhart, Ronald Sackville and John van Dousse set aside all of Justice Burchett's previous orders, clearing the way for the Super League Telstra Cup to commence in 1997. Events 610 - Heraclius arrives by ship from Africa at Constantinople, overthrows Byzantine Emperor Phocas Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar)  ARL Chairman Ken Arthurson wrote, "I was furious, hurt, bewildered. . . I felt as if had been run over by the Southern Aurora. The Southern Aurora was a named express passenger train that operated between the cities of Melbourne and Sydney in Australia. "
An ARL appeal was dismissed on November 15, 1996 in, according to Arthurson, "less time than it took to play a half of football. Events 655 - Battle of Winwaed: Penda of Mercia is defeated by Oswiu of Northumbria. Year 1996 ( MCMXCVI) was a Leap year starting on Monday (link will display full 1996 Gregorian calendar) " Following the court decision, Kerry Packer met with Rupert Murdoch to resolve their differences over rugby league, and on January 17, 1997 Packer's Nine Network announced that it had secured free-to-air broadcast rights for Super League. Events 38 BC - Octavian marries Livia Drusilla. 1287 - King Alfonso III of Aragon invades Minorca Year 1997 ( MCMXCVII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1997 Gregorian calendar The Nine Network, or Channel Nine, is an Australian television network based in Willoughby, a suburb on the North Shore of Sydney On January 22, 1997 Ken Arthurson announced his resignation from the ARL. Events 565 - Eutychius is deposed as Patriarch of Constantinople by John Scholasticus. Year 1997 ( MCMXCVII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1997 Gregorian calendar
With twenty-two teams playing in two competitions in 1997 , crowd attendances and corporate sponsorships were spread very thinly, and many teams found themselves in financial difficulty. This article deals with the history of the current National Rugby League. On 23 September 1997 the ARL announced that it was forming a new company to control the competition in 1998 and invited Super League clubs to participate. Events 1122 - Concordat of Worms. 1459 - Battle of Blore Heath, the first major battle of the English Year 1997 ( MCMXCVII) was a Common year starting on Wednesday (link will display full 1997 Gregorian calendar On October 7, Rubert Murdoch announced that he was confident that there would be a single competition in 1998 and in the following months the National Rugby League (NRL), jointly owned by the ARL and News Limited was formed. Events 3761 BC - The epoch (origin of the modern Hebrew calendar ( Proleptic Julian calendar) The conditions of this merger controversially included an agreement to reduce the number of teams competing in the NRL to 14 by the year 2000. 2000 ( MM) was a Leap year that started on Saturday of the Common Era, in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.
In 1998 Packer's Nine Network secured the free-to-air broadcasting rights for the NRL until 2007 for $13,000,000 a year. 1998 saw the inaugural season of the reunited National Rugby League premiership the 91st season of professional Rugby league football in Australia In 2001 C7 unsuccessfully attempted to buy the pay television NRL rights until 2006 for $72,000,000 per annum. After News resigned these rights, and acquired the AFL broadcast rights, C7 was shut down in March 2002 , leaving Fox Sports as the only Australian pay television sports network. As a result of the failure of C7, its owners commenced legal proceedings against parties, including Fox Sports, Foxtel and the NRL Partnership, for damages of $1 billion. This matter is still before the courts. 
The free to air rights were renewed in 2005 until 2012 for an amount of $40,000,000 a year. 
Foxtel was originally half-owned by News Corporation and half-owned by Telstra. On 30 October 1998 PBL purchased a quarter share in Foxtel from News Corporation for $160,000,000. Events 637 - Antioch surrenders to the Muslim forces under Rashidun Caliphate after the Battle of Iron bridge. Year 1998 ( MCMXCVIII) was a Common year starting on Thursday (link will display full 1998 Gregorian calendar) 
Due to legal costs the Australian Rugby League posted a $9,500,000 loss in 1996 . News Limited has claimed that the entire Super League exercise cost them $100,000,000, however an article in the Australian Financial Review on 5 August 2005 has put the cost at as high as $560,000,000. The Australian Financial Review is the leading Business Newspaper in Australia which is published daily from Monday to Saturday in a Tabloid Events 642 - Battle of Maserfield - Penda of Mercia defeats and kills Oswald of Bernicia. Year 2005 ( MMV) was a Common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar of the Gregorian calendar.