After brokering a deal with the referees that ensures the 2020 season will resume next Thursday, ARL Commission chairman Peter V’landys took a savage swipe at ex-NRL CEO Todd Greenberg.
V’landys fronted the 22 full-time referees on Friday via video link and reportedly assured the whistle-blowers they will have his full support when inevitable controversies arise in the coming weeks.
Subsequently, the referees voted unanimously to abandon their case at the Fair Work Commission and proceed under the one-referee system for the rest of the campaign.
Under the deal, V’landys’ highly controversial call to switch from two referees to one will be reviewed at the end of 2020.
It is understood the referees feared they would be abandoned by head office after the first blown call is made after the May 28 season restart.
In 2018, Greenberg ordered a rules crackdown that resulted in record penalty counts and mass outrage among pundits and fans.
“There has been a tendency for referees to continue to nitpick, so we have to find the balance,” Greenberg said at the time.
“… I don’t want referees looking for penalties.”
According to multiple reports, the relationship between V’landys and Greenberg quickly soured after the former became ARL Commission chairman last October.
Reminded of the 2018 crackdown by News Corp journalist Paul Crawley, V’landys delivered a brutal takedown of the ex-CEO before pledging to repay the referees’ loyalty to the game.
“I’m not Greenberg to start with and you know me better than that by now,” V’landys told The Daily Telegraph.
“… I will back them.”
Earlier on Friday, V’landys lauded the match officials for their decision to end their dispute with the governing body.
“This is an excellent outcome for the game and all its stakeholders. Can I thank the individual referees for the way they conducted themselves during today’s discussion,” he said.
“It was heart-warming to see their desire that nothing stands in the way of the 28th May commencement of our great game and they want to be an integral part of its success.”