Cape Town - An independent arbitrator has been called on to settle a dispute between SA Rugby referees boss Andre Watson and members of his association.
The South African Rugby Referees Association (SARRA) confirmed on its official website that some of its members are at loggerheads with Watson, and this has now come to a head at a meeting with an independent arbitrator.
The result is that there was a hearing on Thursday and Friday of last week involving the arbitrator and members of the SARRA, including Watson and other members of the SARRA's staff and panel referees.
At the heart of the matter is the unhappiness of some SARRA members with Watson's management over the 11 years that he has been in office.
There is as yet no official outcome to the meetings but the meetings are likely to be resumed at some stage this week and perhaps run over into next week.
Neither SARU, Watson nor SARRA will comment on the matter before a hearing outcome has been reached.
The Sunday Times last week reported that a list of grievances was signed by 24 officials.
Some of the grievances are believed to be: verbal abuse, victimisation, Watson’s abrasive management style and financial impropriety.
The newspaper said it was Watson's fallout with senior referee Rasta Rasivhenge that galvanised the disenchanted. Watson allegedly told Rasivhenge last year: “I'll f**k you up, I'll destroy you.”
Rasivhenge has since left South Africa to pursue a refereeing career in Australia.
Watson, 56, was one of South Africa’s most successful referees.
He officiated a record number of finals in the Rugby World Cup (2), Currie Cup (7) and Super Rugby (5).