NRL ref Klein heading home to Australia - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL ref Klein heading home to Australia

21/01/2009 04:50:07 PM Comments (0)

Rugby league World Cup final referee Ashley Klein and Ricky Stuart are set to cross paths again with the Australian-born whistleblower headed home to the NRL.

Stuart stood down from the Australian team coaching job after an investigation into his vitriolic verbal attack on Klein the day after the Kangaroos' shock 34-20 loss to New Zealand in the World Cup final in November.

Incensed by some decisions in the match, he confronted Klein in a hotel lobby and was widely criticised as a bad loser when the matter become public.

Stuart subsequently cleared the air by contacting Klein and apologising.

Now the Cronulla coach is likely to find Klein refereeing Sharks matches in the 2009 season with Klein close to finalising a deal with the NRL after quitting his position as an official with England's Rugby Football League (RFL).

Klein, a former Parramatta reserve-grade player who has officiated in the British top flight for five years, is returning to rejoin his wife and two children in Australia.

While obviously disappointed to lose one of Super League's top referees, Cummings said he understood Klein's motives in leaving.

"Ashley has had a very difficult decision to make but has understandably decided to join his family in Australia," Cummings said in a statement.

"Therefore, we have decided it is in the best interests of all parties concerned to accept his resignation with immediate effect.

"We understand that following the announcement last week that his family wish to stay in Australia that the NRL has subsequently offered him a position in their competition."

Klein could officially join the NRL's refereeing ranks as early as Wednesday night.

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