AUSTRALIAN RUGBY LEAGUE REFEREES' ASSOCIATION INC.
The movement to form an Australian Rugby League Referees' Association has been part of the agenda of referee administrators for countless years. Prior to 1980 joint committees of New South wales and Queensland referees, developed constitutions for a variety of national associations, boards and councils. For numerous reasons each of these attempts were unsuccessful and these documents have remained dormant.
Since the early 1980's the focus of the Australian Rugby league has been increasingly on the development of the Premier Competition and taking it national. During this period further unsuccessful attempts to form a national referees association were made. Most of these were joint ventures between New South Wales and Queensland referees. One however, involved a committee consisting exclusively of representatives from Developing States.
By the 1990's the national Premiership Competition was being conducted by the new South Wales Rugby league on behalf of the Australian Rugby league. This thrust the New South Wales referees' Association into a position of prominence. It became compulsory for all national competition referees to join the Association. Furthermore every referees' Association in Australia, either directly or indirectly, became an affiliate.
As a consequence, in 1994 the New South Wales Referees' Association applied to the Australian Rugby League to change its name to the Australian Rugby League Referees' Association. It planned to incorporate a truly representative national council within its structure. The Australian Rugby League Board, at its December meeting of that year, refused that application and resolved that a properly constituted body for this latter Association be formed. Events of the ensuing years delayed action on this decision.
The establishment in 1998 of the National Rugby League to conduct the National Premiership Competition redefined the roles of the Australian Rugby League and State Leagues. In the current climate State Leagues have a highly concentrated State focus, where as the Australian Rugby League is adopting a broader vision towards the game in Australia together with an International role. It now seemed logical, that a national not a state association should be at the head of the referees network. This is the catalyst that reactivated the formation of a national referees association.
In July 1998, the President and Secretary of NSW, NSW Country and Queensland Referees Board formed a Steering Committee to:
- Develop an Australian Rugby League Referees' Association constitution supported by each State Referees' Association and acceptable to the Australian Rugby League.
- Affiliate the Association with the Australian Rugby League Ltd.
- Incorporate the Association.
- Prepare for the first Annual general Meeting of the Association in March 2000.
At a meeting in August 1999 between the Steering Committee and Executive Officers from each of the State Referees' Associations, the constitution (Objects and Rules) was unanimously endorsed by all. The Association became a reality on the 28th October 1999 when it was granted a certificate of Incorporation ensuring its affiliation with the Australian Rugby league. The Steering Committee became the first Board of Directors of the Association and began preparations for the Inaugural Conference/Annual General Meeting.