Home General World Dispute with referees' union ends, game to move on with one official

Dispute with referees’ union ends, game to move on with one official

The NRL’s dispute with the referees’ union is over after both parties agreed to let the game move forward with one match official.

The news comes after the Professional Rugby League Match Officials (PRLMO) lodged a dispute with the Fair Work Commission over their displeasure towards the game moving on from two on-field officials.

The NRL had announced earlier this month they would proceed in the 2020 season with just one on-field referee per game as well as the ‘six again’ rule for ruck infringements.

ARLC Chairman Peter V’landys confirmed the news, declaring the game will now be faster and more entertaining moving forward.

Peter V’landys (Getty)

“This is an excellent outcome for the game and all its stakeholders. Can I thank the individual referees for the way they conducted themselves during today’s discussion,” V’landys said.

“It was heart-warming to see their desire that nothing stands in the way of the 28th May commencement of our great game and they want to be an integral part of its success.

“The new rule changes will make our game faster and more entertaining. Most importantly it will address the biggest on-field issues which are speed around the ruck, and the eradication of the wrestle.”

The NRL has guaranteed their 22 full-time referees will be employed beyond this year and 2021, with a review of the new system to come at the end of the season.

Smith says the referees have shown leniency this year. (AAP)

A working committee of players, coaches referees and management will be set up, with their feedback handed to the commission before a call is made on 2021.

The development came after the union infuriated the NRL on Friday by accusing them of overlooking player safety and labelled them “arrogant” and like a “bull in a china shop” in rushing to make changes.

“It’s simple: Today’s game is safer with two refs,” the Professional Rugby League Match Officials said in a statement.

“On numerous occasions, the second referee has picked up potential causes of harm to players which were not detected at the same time by the other three match officials, nor the bunker.

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“This includes tackles, holds and throws that can cause significant injury.

“Identifying and responding to these incidents promptly is crucial in ensuring player safety, and in complying with concussion protocols where a head injury is suspected.

“But this does not appear to concern the league’s bosses.”

The union claimed that 80 per cent of ruck penalties are spotted by the pocket referee, who has been eliminated in the NRL’s new model.

They also said the NRL had ignored the pleas of coaches of players during a May 11 Project Apollo meeting in moving to the one-referee system.

“The league bosses were simply arrogant with this one ref decision,” the statement said.

“They were like a ‘bull in a china shop’.”

– with AAP

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