League
NRL and refrees head to arbitration

NRL and refrees head to arbitration

Referees And Mediation

All mediation attempts to settle the tussle between the National Rugby League and its referees continue to reach a stalemate and both parties are set to go into arbitration to find a settlement.

  • The bone of contention is the NRL’s decision to go back to the one on-field official as opposed to the modern norm of two officials. Going against the NRL is the Professional Rugby League Match Officials Incorporated who has continued to insist on maintaining the status quo.
  • After three hours of meeting with no progress at the Fair Work Commission, the two parties are set to head to arbitration. As all the proposals and offers were not accepted by both parties, it is hoped that an arbitrator would be able to sort out the legalities involved in the NRL changing the referring structure on such a short notice.
  • The PRLMO’s insistence is on the basis of the fact that the agreement set with the NRL at the beginning of 2019 was for the two-referee system to be used for four seasons. A breach of this agreement without formally consulting the PRLMO is what the referees are against.
  • The chairman of the PRLMO, Silvio Del Vecchio, stated in a statement to Herald “we made the NRL an offer we thought was fair and genuine. Without real consideration, it was rejected. They made us an offer that was very immaterial to us and we left in the end. We agreed that we weren’t going to reach an agreement and advised the commissioner that we will move to the next step, which is arbitration.”
  • The ARLC chairman, Peter V’landys, on the other hand, stated that the Commission was not bothered about strike threats from the referees as it believed that the governing body has a right to decide what is best for the game.

He said, “at the end of the day, any sporting organisation should have the right to (decide on) the rules and procedures it operates under. If the game is becoming less of an entertainment product, naturally we have to change the product to ensure that we get the revenue so we can pay the refs.”

The source of concern for the referees is that some referees may have to be cut off to accommodate the new rule and this is deemed inconsiderate of the Commission.

As reports circulate and speculations go around, the Fair Work Commission is yet to set a date for the arbitration. While both parties are expected to set aside their differences and reach a compromise at some point during arbitration, fans worry about the impact the case would have on the sport. The first is the likelihood of the May 28 resumption date not being met.

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