Mediation talks between the NRL and its referees completely broke down forcing all parties into arbitration, a crisis that could ultimately impact the code's resumption date of May 28.
The NRL's decision to revert back to one on-field official as opposed to the modern two has been met with an uproar by the Professional Rugby League Match Officials Incorporated.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that more than three hours of talks at the Fair Work Commission led to no progress.
Various proposals and comprises were offered but were ultimately rejected by both sides.
Now all involved will be forced to dispute their matters in front of an arbitrator, who will assess the legalities of the NRL altering the referring structure on short notice.
The PRLMO believe that the NRL has breached an agreement set at the beginning of 2019 which locked in the two-referee system for four seasons, as well as not being properly consulted by their employers.
“We made the NRL an offer we thought was fair and genuine,” PRLMO chairman Silvio Del Vecchio told the Herald.
“Without real consideration, it was rejected. They made us an offer that was very immaterial to us and we left in the end.
"We agreed that we weren’t going to reach an agreement and advised the commissioner that we will move to the next step, which is arbitration.”
Prior to Tuesday's meeting, ARLC chairman Peter V'landys stated that the NRL was not worried by reports of strike threats by the referees, stating that the governing body was entitled to make a decision they believed was right for the game.
“All the full-time refs, none of them have lost their jobs, so what are they going on strike for?” V’landys said.
He added: “At the end of the day, any sporting organisation should have the right to (decide on) the rules and procedures it operates under.
"If the game is becoming less of an entertainment product, naturally we have to change the product to ensure that we get the revenue so we can pay the refs.”
The Fair Work Commission has not yet set a date for arbitration.