“I assured them I am right behind them and appreciate all they do. The referees voted unanimously to discontinue (any action). I’m ecstatic about the attitude of the referees today, they were very professional, very loyal.
“I won’t forget that in a hurry because I repay loyalty in spades. They have our full support.”
It was a peaceful end to a day of high tensions. It began inauspiciously when the Professional Rugby League Match Officials issued an inflammatory statement slamming the NRL as “arrogant” and claimed any cost savings would be “peanuts”. It appeared arbitration would go ahead as the parties were diametrically opposed on just about every front, including cost savings, which system would lead to the most attractive football and safety concerns.
V’landy’s, however, had brought all stakeholders – including players, clubs, governments and broadcasters – on board for the May 28 resumption and in the end won over the referees as well. The Racing NSW boss guaranteed all 22 full-time referee positions will be retained in 2020 and 2021 and a breakthrough was made when presented with the opportunity to speak to them face to face.
“We are pleased that we have a solution that gets us all to the end of this season,” said PRLMO chairman Silvio Del Vecchio.
“We always said that the game will go ahead next week, and it will, that’s what we always wanted.
“It is a constructive sign that the NRL have agreed to do this on a trial basis until the end of the year. Our case in the Fair Work Commission will be resumed, if necessary, and can be revisited, following the ALR Commission’s response to the Working Group’s deliberations at the end of the season.”
The result will allow NRL officials to devote their weekend to the ensuring the competition resumption is a success.
“In hindsight we should have consulted with them earlier,” V’landys said.
“It wasn’t anything disrespectful about them. We gave them a full presentation of how we are on this journey. They want to be on the journey with us.
“I just want to compliment our full-time referees. Once we presented them with the facts, they supported us.”
Adrian Proszenko is the Chief Rugby League Reporter for the Sydney Morning Herald.