The former convener of rugby league referees in Canterbury says there will be an exodus of qualified people if clubs can't take responsibility for the mistreatment of referees.
Stan Hansen left his job as convener of referees in the Rugby League southern zone, after a decision to reduce the fines of two clubs involved in a brawl in May that included players, team officials and spectators.
He was the referee in a 16-years-grade match between the Northern Bulldogs-Celebration and Kaiapoi.
Mr Hansen says referees and their families are receiving threats of physical harm.
The prevalence of alcohol on the sidelines is a contributing factor to spectators getting involved in disputes at games.
Mr Hansen says there's been a growing exodus of referees, and others are having to cover three games in a day to fill the demand.