- Jul 14, 2009
Oh, I thought everyone knew they cheated. Whoops.
Referees’ union weighs up legal action against Warriors’ sponsor
ByAdam PengillyMay 8, 2023 — 2.57pm
The NRL’s referees’ union is considering taking legal action against the chief executive of the New Zealand Warriors’ major sponsor who sent a tweet which accused whistleblowers of “cheating”.
The Professional Rugby League Match Officials, which represents the game’s elite referees, has sought legal advice on whether they can launch defamation proceedings against One New Zealand boss Jason Paris.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo was furious with the social media messages from Paris, who blasted officials after the Warriors’ loss to the Panthers during Magic Round on Saturday.
And on Monday, PRLMO boss Matt Cecchin said his organisation had spoken to lawyers about their position.
“It’s not called for and the comments are appalling,” Cecchin said. “It does nothing to help and improve officials within our game, or any officials really. That’s why we’ll do whatever we can to ensure comments like this are stamped out of our game, and stamped out of any game for any officials.
“Any sort of mention of the word bias, be it conscious or unconscious, is just unacceptable. It hurts our game at every level.
“We feel strong enough to seek legal opinion and based on the information we’ll pursue whatever means necessary to ensure that it’s seen as a deterrent for anyone who thinks about making any such comments around bias.”
Paris spoke on multiple New Zealand media platforms on Monday after his rant, and took to Twitter again to back down from his accusation of cheating.
“My comments were made in the heat of the moment as a passionate fan,” Paris tweeted. “However, I do believe that there is unconscious bias happening every week against the Warriors & it needs to be addressed. All we want is consistency, but we are not getting it.”
The Warriors had two players - Jackson Ford and Demitric Sifakula - sent to the sin-bin against the Panthers as the two-time defending champions scrapped their way to an 18-6 win.
“Officials make mistakes like players do in every game,” Cecchin said. “We learn from those, but the comments taken offence to here do nothing to improve the standard of officiating. Make comments about mistakes is one thing, but suggesting bias or cheating is just not acceptable.
“We feel the comments made by this person don’t reflect 99 per cent of people that know anything about, or follow rugby league. That’s why they’re so out of the norm it’s not funny. We’re doing this to protect past officials, present officials and emerging officials.
Referees’ union weighs up legal action against Warriors’ sponsorNRL referees have reacted angrily to comments posted on social media by the chief executive of One NZ, Jason Paris, accusing officials of bias against the Warriors.www.smh.com.au