An emergency meeting by the Cook Islands Rugby League Association (CIRLA) including representatives from the seven league clubs held yesterday resulted in the decision to dissolve the current referees association and members of its executive be suspended from any league activities for the year.
This decision was made after a letter was sent to CIRLA president Charles Carlson by the referees’ association president Sean Willis stating their motion to appoint John Whitta as the associations “appointment officer” assisted by Simiona Teiotu.
“A motion was moved and accepted unanimously by the meeting that John Whitta will be our appointment officer with Simiona Teiotu assisting,” wrote Willis to Carlson.
“In the event CIRLA accepts the above motion then we will be available to officiate again from next weekend, due to the fact that Taua has already made the refs appointment for this week.
“If the above motion proposal is not acceptable to the CIRLA then that leaves us with no option but to withdraw our service as league referees for the rest of the season.”
Throughout the season there has been conflict between Willis, Teiotu and national club competition co-ordinator Taua Benioni.
The friction between the group led to a referees’ boycott which resulted in miscommunications and the scheduled game between the Arorangi Bears and Ngatangiia Sea Eagles called off by club officials last Saturday.
However, issues had not been ironed out and on Friday the decision was made by CIRLA executives, with the support of all league clubs, to dissolve the current league referees association and form a new association under the control of the league association.
In a letter responding to Willis, Carlson stated that, “It was felt that the response from the referees was very threatening and certainly not in the best interest of working together with the CIRLA to develop the game in moving forward.”
A new CIRLA referees association will now be established under the umbrella and control of CIRLA.
Competition co-ordinator Taua Benioni will continue with the appointments and co-ordinating of the referees until such time as CIRLA is satisfied with the new structure of the referees association.
Meanwhile, club rugby league games continue today with great games on the cards for all club league supporters.