Strike threat by referees

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The Independent Online
A strike over pay by referees could put paid to this weekend's Welsh League programme. The Welsh Society of Rugby Union Referees is in dispute with the Welsh Rugby Union over the payment of match fees and has said its members will strike from this Saturday if the WRU does not back down.

The WRU has declined to attend a last-ditch meeting with the referees' representatives and wholesale fixture postponements look inevitable if members of the WSRUR go ahead with their planned move.

Referees officiating in the top five divisions want a fee, back-dated to 31 August, but the WRU is only prepared to pay First and Second Division referees back-dated to 1 December. The amount of the fee is also an issue, although the WRU had previously offered contracts, turned down because many officials have other jobs and could not sign a secondary deal.

"It is a very disappointing situation, but there doesn't seem enough time left to solve this problem," the WSRUR secretary, Hugh Banfield, said.