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NRL clubs call urgent meeting in bid to remove John Grant from ARLC

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In what looms as the biggest threat to John Grant's reign as ARLC chair, a meeting of all 16 NRL club chairmen has been called in Sydney next Tuesday.

Canterbury chairman Ray Dib sent out an invitation to club chairs on Friday morning, requesting a last-minute gathering with his counterparts at which it is expected the clubs will call for an extraordinary general meeting to remove Grant from power.

Fairfax Media understands a proposal to try and remove all six commissioners will also be floated after the NRL baulked at a proposal agreed between the governing body and clubs over funding.

To remove Grant, a majority vote is required from the 16 clubs, six commissioners and two state bodies. However it is widely assumed the six commissioners, Queensland Rugby League and the two NRL-owned clubs (Gold Coast and Newcastle) won't be voting against Grant.

With the NSWRL expected to oppose Grant, the clubs will require 12 of the remaining 14 votes in order to remove Grant from his position.

Grant once had the complete backing of the Queensland clubs, however frustrations over the funding proposal has cast uncertainty over the ARLC boss' support at club level.

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The votes of the Brisbane Broncos, North Queensland Cowboys and Melbourne Storm will be significant, however it is understood even the non-Sydney clubs are beginning to side with the NSW power bloc. If the Knights and or Titans abstain, only 12 votes will be required to overthrow grant from his position as the ARLC chair.

The club chairs have been at loggerheads for months over what figure next year's salary cap should rise to – however the one thing that unites the fractured clubs is their commitment to NRL funding.

The ARLC and clubs last year agreed the NRL would provide club funding to the tune of 130 per cent of the 2018 salary cap.

Cashflow concerns meant the NRL wasn't willing to set the salary cap at the originally estimated $10 million, but Grant moved to appease concerned clubs by committing to a $13m of funding regardless of what the cap was set at. But when the NRL announced on Wednesday that the cashflow problems had already surfaced and would leave the clubs around $1.5m short on payments for next year, Grant's tenure came under fire once again.

Grant told Fairfax Media on Thursday that he wasn't aware of a proposal put forward to clubs at a meeting on Wednesday, in which the NRL outlined a plan to phase out payments over six years rather than the agreed five years.

However his claims has raised question marks over whether NRL executives and the ARLC commission are in fact on the same page.

The clubs are also outraged that the NRL decided to divulge information about their new funding proposal after the majority of chairmen – many deemed to be antagonists – left the meeting.

Even the NRL-owned Gold Coast Titans – once a huge supporter of the under-siege Grant – are understood to be weighing up their position. The Titans are desperate to hang on to the $3 million margin that would be attractive to potential buyers as they look to cement their future on the Gold Coast. The Queensland Rugby League is Grant's strongest ally, and given they haven't been invited to next week's meeting, the clubs don't believe they will gain their support.

As a response to the immediate backlash from furious clubs after Wednesday's meeting, NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg tried to reassure the clubs that they wouldn't be out of pocket next year. He sent an email to all clubs later that night stating his intent to source the additional funds – believed likely to be in the form of a loan from major sponsor Telstra or a bank.

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