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Former Super League and NRL referee Tim Alouani-Roby in legal battle against former boss

Former Super League and NRL referee Tim Alouani-Roby has slammed his former boss for ‘victimisation’.

The ex-official had accused former NRL referees chief Bernard Sutton of telling him his accent was a problem on the field and that he was subsequently ordered to do an off-season fitness test in order to embarrass him into retiring.

Alouani-Roby had submitted evidence to a tribunal back in November 2021, according to the Sydney Morning Herald, which revealed that Sutton employed a “demanding and no-compromise management style” and that Alouani-Roby was victimised because he was part of a referees union.

Alouani-Roby was sponsored by the NRL to referee in Australia back in 2015 after spending five years officiating in the Super League, but his full-time contract was left to run out by the governing body at the end of 2020.

The Fair Work Commission earlier in November dismissed the claims from the former official, but the Fair Work judgment said it held the evidence of Alouani-Roby, and a number of supporting witness statements, in a higher regard than that of the NRL and Sutton on disputed issues.

The NRL has categorically rejected such claims made, but Alouani-Roby’s legal counsel argued Sutton had told other senior members of the referees department that Alouani-Roby was “being soft again” and that he shouldn’t “get away with it.”

Sutton brought in the referee as well those not involved in finals games to take part in a running test, but with an eye to catching the ex-Super League referee out.

In fact, one conversation highlighted just that: “The real reason for the yo-yo test is to make Tim [Alouani]-Roby aware of his level of fitness within the group. I want to make him feel uncomfortable to the extent he will retire on his own”.

Alouani-Roby started stress leave towards the end of his time in the NRL, arguing he was leaving under duress rather than resigning.

He has appealed the Fair Work decision and is now currently awaiting the results, telling Serious About Rugby League that he will comment once his trial has been completed.

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