AFTER one of the most successful seasons in the club’s history in 2012 the Bathurst Goldminers suddenly face a crisis as their existence at State League level comes under threat thanks to a Basketball NSW ruling regarding referees.
It is understood the governing body has delivered on a threat to expel a number of local associations from their competitions in 2013 thanks to a decision to increase the number of referees supplied by each association to two per team.
With Bathurst fielding a women’s State League side and a senior and junior men’s team, that would require them to have six qualified officials rather than the three they have been required to supply in the past.
With a sharp drop in the number of officials who are capable of controlling games at that level, Bathurst has been unable - at this point at least - to fulfil its obligations.
According to Goldminers official and Bathurst Indoor Stadium manager Paul Masters, an appeal will be submitted today that will hopefully see the decision reversed.
“There is some truth to it, yes,” Masters confirmed.
“They [Basketball NSW] have told us that we won’t be accepted into State League unless we can find some more referees, we have lost a few over the last couple of years. They’ve told us we don’t have enough, but we’re appealing that call.
“We held an action day for our referees recently and I’m hoping we can turn a couple of them into state-level officials. We have over 60 games a week here at the stadium and each of them have two officials so the numbers are there at that level and that’s where it all starts.
“For years they’ve been talking about doing this. I think a few of the bigger associations have gotten sick of supplying their refs to other associations and they’ve made a bit of a fuss about it so Basketball NSW have listened.”
Currently, referees in State League matches get paid around $50 per game which in theory isn’t a bad reward for a little over an hour’s work but given some of the vitriol they are forced to endure from players, it is small change.
Masters explained the biggest factor in referees making the jump to that level was simple experience, understandable given some of the situations they can find themselves in.
“We’ve lost Peter Wright in the last few years, he was very experienced but has decided to step back which is fine, and nowadays we have a lot of younger ones,” he said.
“But they are usually smart kids and they tend to leave and go to university in other places and that makes it hard for us to produce older ones.
“They get $50 a game which isn’t much for the amount of crap they have to take a lot of the time. Basketball isn’t like other sports where umpires and officials are just untouchable.
“We’ve had to beg, borrow and steal to try and find the numbers we need and hopefully when we speak with them [Basketball NSW] this week, we can sort it out.”
The problems for the ‘Miners don’t stop there, though.
Just five months after claiming a landslide undefeated title in the women’s State League competition, there are realistic fears the team may not have the numbers to enter again in 2013.