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‘How is that fair in a billion dollar game?’: Referees clash over pay and conditions

Rugby league referees will take industrial action as their pay war with the NRL continues. 

The Professional Rugby League Match Officials (PRLMO) is negotiating with the League over its new enterprise bargaining agreement and are crying out for a pay increase and better conditions.

“Referees are absolutely crucial to the game… so it baffles me why the NRL doesn’t treat them with the respect and recognition they deserve,” says Mark Levy.

“The NRL’s income pool has consistently increased over the years… yet the pay for the referees has remained pretty much the same, they’re sick of it and they’ve had enough.”

The whistle-blowers have voted unanimously to enforce industrial action on Thursday.

Chairman of the PRLMO Silvio Del Vecchio tells Mark Levy “as recently as yesterday we met with the NRL and we discussed all six of the claims”.

“Only one relates to pay, the other five relates to conditions.”

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The Chairman also confirmed some of his members are out of pocket as much as $7000 for their own injury treatment and have had to wait eleven weeks to be reimbursed by the NRL.

“If the referees are paying for their own injury treatment, their own rehabilitation, how is that fair in a billion dollar game,” says Levy.

Silvio reassures Mark it is a major part of their industrial action and “there will be no agreement unless we get agreement on injury management”.

The PRLMO will initially endorse the action in the form of wearing non-NRL official clothes to training and functions, and will also lift the ban on officials talking to the media.

Mark Levy