Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter Beattie lays down the law at yesterday’s media conference. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter Beattie lays down the law at yesterday’s media conference. Picture: Mark Evans/Getty Images

Beleaguered Beattie flags early retirement

BESEIGED PETER Beattie says he will not serve a full six-year term, and yesterday named three colleagues ready to succeed him as Australian Rugby League Commission chairman.

Mr Beattie named long-time Racing NSW chief executive Peter V'landys, former Nine Network managing director Amanda Laing and Mark Coyne, a Sydney businessman who played league for Queensland and Australia, as worthy chairpersons.

The former Queensland premier, 66, marked his first anniversary as ARLC chairman last week by negotiating with clubs and players on policy reform on off-field violence which he thought could withstand all opposition.

"I see rumours about my immediate demise, but I'm used to those - I was in politics and have a very thick hide,'' Mr Beattie said.

"I will be around a while. I will be here as long as the commissioners want me.

"Amanda and I have been at the commission for 18 months. I don't want to be there for six years. John Grant (former ARLC chairman) was - that's too long.

"Those three people have the talent to the chair tomorrow.

"We knew it would be difficult to get everyone to accept what we have done with this policy.

"It addresses charges which are of particular concern to the game and the broader community, including sexual violence and violence against women.''

Rugby League Players' Association CEO Ian Prendergast said players would oppose - through a legal challenge if necessary - the ARLC's new policy of suspensions on full pay for players charged with off-field violence, especially against women.

The RLPA view was supported earlier this month by Paul Conlon, a Sydney judge and former NRL judiciary chairman, who said a no-fault suspension would jeopardise a player's presumption of innocence before the courts.

"This change will do irreparable damage to the player and his employment,'' Mr Prendergast said.

"The reality is that standing down a player indefinitely can impact on the fundamental principle of the presumption of innocence, and may prejudice the legal process.''