If most spectators, players, coaches and commentators are to be believed anyone can be a referee. This is true. But few of them ever take up the opportunity to put the whistle where their mouth is!
The reality is that fewer are standing up to get involved in the sports they love. Why not give something back, something other than armchair abuse!
Ok, so referee’s do make mistakes. Sometimes they are howlers. We are after all human! But the post match analysis regularly now takes aim at the referee – but how often do we hear about the mistakes made by the players themselves?
Referees should be held accountable for their actions on the pitch, but the players must also hold themselves equally accountable. In rugby there is a more positive approach on this – unlike football for example who make it a national pastime to lambast the referee for decisions made, or not made, rather than their defender who scores 3 own goals!
The issue is that of late more and more referees are becoming vilified by the spectators, players, coaches and commentators which is more in keeping with the weekly football tantrums we see splashed across paper headlines. Is it the referees fault for awarding the penalty? Or is it the defenders fault for committing the offense? Or worse the attackers fly-half for missing the easy three pointer?
Whilst the man in the middle needs to improve the consistency and quality of the split second decisions they make, those on the side must also play their part.
Rugby’s strength lies in its ‘spirit of the game’. That spirit is slowly becoming a ghost of an ideal that may soon haunt us in name alone, along with the ghost of ‘the beautiful game’ that passed on 30 odd years ago.
So next time your watching your chosen sport and you dont like the decision, just think, if you say you could do better, then why not prove it – put a whistle where your mouth is.