The NRL announced last week that the competition would be one referee per match instead of two match officials.
According to reports, the arbitrators’ union has since filed a complaint with the Fair Work Commission and is now threatening to strike.
The referees’ argument is an agreement in early 2019 that the status of two field officials was guaranteed for the next four seasons.
Although ARLC President Peter V’landys has defended the position of the competition by saying that they are convinced that the referees’ decision will not impact the resumption of the NRL.
“All the full-time umpires, none of them lost their jobs, so why are they going to strike?” V’landys said.
“But we are prepared for all eventualities, we always have been. I don’t want to televise what we would do, but we have plans in place.
“I don’t think they would get any sympathy if they sabotaged the game with such action. It would be risking the future of the game if they did something like that. “
V’landys then further explained that the decision was not related to security measures in place because of COVID-19 but because of fears that gambling “will become less of an entertainment product.”
“Ultimately, any sports organization should have the right to (decide) the rules and procedures under which it operates. If the game becomes less of an entertainment product, naturally we have to switch products to make sure we get the revenue so that we can pay the referees. “
There have been calls by some that referees in second tier state competitions in NSW (Canterbury Cup) and Queensland (Intrust Super Cup) could fill the possible void, although Professional Rugby League match officials president Silvio Del Vecchio has said it won’t work.
“Driving a car seems really easy until your 17-year-old son or daughter gets in a car for the first time,” Del Vecchio said.
V’landys has been very critical of Del Vecchio and said the leader of the PRLMO is not helping the referees’ cause.
“It’s totally ridiculous and I don’t think his confrontational and deceptive approach helps his association,” V’landys said.
“We haven’t done anything wrong. All 21 referees who are full-time will be retained. “
Talks between all parties will resume on Tuesday.