Gallop keen to protect NRL

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National Rugby League (NRL) chief executive David Gallop has insisted he is supportive of Australia's FIFA World Cup bid, but warned the backing will not come at rugby league's cost.

Gallop met with Football Federation Australia (FFA) counterpart Ben Buckley in Sydney in mid–December to thrash out a number of issues threatening to derail the hosting bid. The NRL is seeking assurances that its competition will not be drastically affected should Australia win the right to hold the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022. The FFA has clashed with the Australian Football League (AFL) over the use of Etihad Stadium [in Melbourne] as a World Cup venue and wants to avoid a similar row with the NRL over Sydney's sporting stadia. "We are happy to try and work together but the price of that co–operation cannot be such that it puts the future of our clubs at risk, " Gallop said after the meeting. "We have to be able to continue to operate effectively for our own clubs' sake and for the sake of the millions of fans in this country who follow them. "Gallop added: "There is only so much disruption our clubs can endure and still remain viable in the years that follow. I do think people need to step back from the view that any attempt we make to ensure that we protect our game is somehow portrayed as an attack on the World Cup bid. " Gallop said discussions with Buckley had been productive and would continue. "Ben has given us his personal assurance that we will be given complete transparency over any issue in the bid document which may affect us, " Gallop said. "It is going to be a more lengthy process than most realise with a number of the international requirements not due to be finalised until May [2010]. "About The Sport Briefing This story has been reproduced with the kind permission of The Sport Briefing. The Sport Briefing is published by PA Sport and can be found at: www. thesportbriefing. comThe Sport Briefing is updated as and when news happens, from across the global business of sport. The industry's biggest stories have an accompanying email alert, and The Sport Briefing sends subscribers a daily digest to give them an easy–to–read overview of the day's main events. Contact rory. squires@thesportbriefing. com for more information.

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