'These guys don't care': Refs under fire in heated NRL stoush

ARL Commission chief Peter V'landys has accused the NRL's referees of self-interest. Pic: Getty

ARL Commission chief Peter V'landys has accused the NRL's referees of self-interest after peace talks failed, prompting arbitration proceedings.

The NRL and referees' union met with the Fair Work Commission for three hours without progress on Tuesday, following the decision to revert to one whistleblower.

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They will now head for arbitration on Friday, where a result will be achieved.

It means the restart of the season will not be delayed and strike action is out of the question.

But V'landys remains furious, claiming the issue is presenting an unwanted distraction for the game as it tries to pool its energy into a return.

"The thing that is disappointing is the self-interest," V'landys told AAP.

"Every other party ... The coaches haven't agreed to everything, the players haven't agreed to everything. But they have been in the trenches.

"But these guys don't care about the game, and they made that very obvious today. Very clear.

"They're only interested in themselves."

V'landys claimed part of the referees' grievance came from a lack of a desire to take a pay cut in line with the rest of the game.

It's understood an objection to the cuts formed part of the Professional Rugby League Match Officials'' claim on Tuesday.

The referees union then made an offer to take a pay cut on Wednesday, but only if the two-referee system remained.

That was quickly rejected by the league, who are insistent they will not stick with two whistleblowers regardless of what offer is made.

"The commission itself is on 25 per cent less. The NRL executive are on 25 per cent less, the players are on 20 per cent less," V'landys said.

"But these guys want 100 per cent.

"They know we won't accept (an offer to stick with two referees).

Peter V'landys says the game's time, money and focus should not be on the refereeing issue. Pic: Getty

V’landys lashes referees for wasting money and time

"They could have put in there that they will work for free and they're not going to accept it.

"And they're absolutely spending a lot of money, hundreds of thousands of dollars, taking us to arbitration so that we go back to two referees.

"The spin that is coming out of these guys, could make a record player go."

The NRL has insisted the move to one referee is as much about speeding the game up, while also saving costs.

It was originally met with opposition from players and coaches, but most have now claimed they just want the game to begin and are willing to see if it and the six-again rule for ruck infringements work.

Union boss Silvio Del Vecchio said he was disappointed with the result, but would not hold up the season and strike - regardless of the outcome this week.

"Very, very disappointing," Del Vecchio said.

"Today the commissioner was there and he acted as the go-between to help the parties come together.

"But on Thursday or Friday, whenever it is, the commissioner will table the information, table the evidence and make a ruling.

"They make a call one way or another."