It seems that the Western Province Rugby Football Union (WPRFU) simply cannot steer away from negative publicity, not to mention their dire financial position.
The website Netwerk24 reports that the WP Rugby Referees Association have notified the union that they are not prepared to continue with never-ending abuse and even the danger they have to endure with intimidation, swearing and verbal abuse as well as cases of assault of referees by players and supporters at club matches.
Added to that – and in this respect the referees are not alone – the union is behind in their payments to the referees.
The repercussions are obvious: the referees association have informed the WPRFU that they decided on a boycott. A number of club matches on Wednesday night could not be played. It seems unlikely that the referees’ grievances will be resolved before the weekend – and with most leagues running to the season’s play-offs, the situation has come at a most inopportune time.
The problems over the season have manifested at all levels in the club competitions, with some clubs obviously more guilty than others and a fair number of clubs and their teams playing in the spirit of competition.
A meeting between the referees and the union was scheduled for Thursday, but the referees association’s chairman Joey Klaaste-Salmans has made it clear that any undertaking by the union will first have to be discussed with his members and that he cannot see that this will happen before next week.
According to Netwerk24 Klaaste-Salmans said he will not fall for any promises by the WPRFU and will insist on “something in black and white so that we can keep them accountable.”