Group 2 threatens to disband referees
By BRAD GREENSHIELDS
THE Group 2 management committee has threatened to take the unprecedented step of disbanding the local referees association.
During a no-holds barred meeting the Group held on May 31 with members of the association, a range of issues destabilising the referees group were raised.
The Group said it would disband the association if factionalism and in-fighting within the Group 2 Referees Association isn't resolved immediately.
The monthly meeting on Tuesday night offers the referees a final chance to ensure their future and stop any drastic measures that Group 2 may choose to take against them.
If issues continue to simmer within the referees ranks then the Group's management committee have declared their intention to appoint referees from outside the association, namely from the Northern Rivers competition.
In a document obtained by the Coffs Coast Advocate, major issues set to be discussed on Tuesday include the level of confidence the referees have in the appointments board, in particular Ken Smith.
Some members have accused him of showing favoritism towards referees Kirk Taylor and Steve Stacey when appointments are decided.
Personality clashes between several key members of the association is seen to be the ice inside the rock that threatens to break it open.
Association president David Dunn hopes Tuesday's meeting will give everyone a chance to clear the air and that unity will found within the group.
"What's happening at the moment is not a major problem, it's a small problem that unfortunately is causing a major issue," Dunn said.
"Realistically we need to make some changes in support of referees but for the management committee to say this isn't supportive at all and it's not fair to the referees who are doing what they should every weekend."
Dunn believes that only a small amount of change is needed within the refereeing ranks as the majority of members are all doing the right thing.
"What really annoys me personally is that we've got some extremely good personnel within our ranks," he added.
"Trouble is that there are a minimal number of people who've been around too long in their various avenues and we need a revamp."
Trying to find a solution, it's likely that at the upcoming meeting both Dunn and long serving secretary/treasurer Bill Gibbons will call for a motion asking members to vote on their confidence in the pair to carry out their duties.
If a no confidence vote is given and the association fails to fill the vacant positions, then the referees group is in danger of becoming a rudderless ship, something that Group 2 can't endorse.
Group president Greg Mayhew is hopeful that the management committee won't have to follow through on it's hard line approach but admits that some form of drastic action was required to force a solution.
"It was said at their AGM that if the referees don't fix their problems then we'd have to fix it for them," he said.
"Early in the year when the season got underway, we were told that all was fine but now we're back to where we started.
"I hope that it can all be sorted out."