In 2016, the NRL announced it was in talks with a number of potential buyers of its games.
The NRL had already sold the Gold Coast Titans, Brisbane Broncos, and Parramatta Eels to Chinese investors, and the Melbourne Storm was in discussions with Chinese owners, as were the Wests Tigers, Newcastle Knights, and Sydney Roosters.
In 2016 it also agreed to buy the Sydney Rooster, which had previously been sold to a Chinese company.
In 2017, the new owners announced they would sell the NRL’s domestic and international rugby codes to Chinese buyers, which would then be sold to new Chinese owners.
In 2018, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) began investigating whether the NRL had broken the rules in terms of the sale of its domestic and foreign rugby codes.
The ACCC had previously raised concerns that the NRL was selling its codes to the highest bidder, and that the sale process was opaque and inconsistent.
This is the first time the ACCC has publicly addressed the issue of how the NRL deals with Chinese buyers and sellers of its sporting codes.
As part of the investigation, the ACCCC reviewed information from the NRL, and discovered that the league had not made clear to its existing and prospective Australian players that the new buyers were not to be considered part of its internal competition process.
In some cases, the current owners of the codes had not been notified of their interests, and therefore the NRL did not have a mechanism for ensuring that these interests were properly considered.
As a result, the league did not take action to address these concerns until the ACCCF had asked the NRL for information on how it planned to deal with Chinese purchasers and sellers.
The NRL was not able to answer questions about whether it had made representations to its current Australian players and owners regarding the nature of the competition process, and whether the league would be able to provide adequate information to those players and their representatives.AAP/ABC NewsTopics:sport,nrl,sporting-cricket,southeast-asia,asia-pacific,china,united-statesFirst posted January 09, 2019 11:34:36Contact Pauline HenshawMore stories from New South Wales