The Eastern Province Rugby Referees Society in South Africa has decided to cancel all club matches this weekend after a spike in match-day harassment.
The decision came after concerns were raised on Wednesday about increased verbal and physical harassment at several club rugby matches.
"We initially received a notification from the Referees Society that they were downing tools due to the ongoing harassment that their members were exposed to at club games," Eeaster Province Rugby Union president Cheeky Watson told Sport24. "Following discussions held with representatives from the referees we have decided to cancel all games this coming weekend.
Match referees have been spat on and even had their car tyres slashed post-match, behaviour labelled by Watson as "simply unacceptable". As a result, Watson has urged all clubs to address this issue as a matter of urgency.
"We as a union feel that this is simply unacceptable and we will not condone this type of behaviour in any form whatsoever," he said.
Watson declared that all clubs were now responsible for the safety and wellbeing of the referees when they hosted a match. Clubs that do not follow these new regulations will face the "harshest of actions".