It’s The Bladdy Ref!

This has to be the number one excuse for a defeat, in any sport. Unlike other sports though, I feel that the man at the center of a rugby game bares the greatest responsibility and hence brunt at the end of any call they make.

Photo : KRRS

Photo : KRRS

See unlike most sports, rugby is governed by laws, not rules, which often leaves a lot of grey areas. That means that the implementation of the same is down to the referees interpretation. So what is penalized today might not be handed the same judgement next weekend.

Referee gaffes are part and parcel of this sport, remember Craig Joubert at last year’s world cup? Then there was Bryce Lawrence, in 2011. (Coincidentally, these two happened at the Quarter finals, and Australia were the beneficiaries on both occasions, hehe)

That we will never have perfect referees is a fact we have all learned to live with, and always appreciate the efforts made to improve the officiating levels.

Up step Kenya Rugby, and well ours is largely no different from the world trend, but we always have something special up our sleeves don’t we? In Kenya, ‘It was the ref’, holds a bit more water, especially the further down you go in the leagues.

For a country that is rapidly developing into a rugby power house our officiating standards seem to be moving as fast, but in the opposite direction.

The levels of officiating in the country have been on a dangerously slippery slope, especially from last year’s sevens series. It is time we curbed this slide or else we will be producing half baked players who have no idea where the offside line is.

Tales of a referee who doesn’t know what happens when a ball goes dead beyond the try box are nothing new. Of refs who can’t tell what laws govern scrum time. These tales get funnier and really disheartening especially in the Nationwide leagues away from Nairobi.

That referees will start from somewhere is completely understandable, that they will probably bottle their first few games is too. But handing a referee a game without any on pitch training, or practicals is an utter disgrace.

Dear KRRS, it is time you shaped up and put your house in order. Somehow the referees have been able to sneak past the radar, as we concentrate on ‘bigger’ and ‘better’ things. What can be bigger or better than player safety?

How many limbs were broken during the 7s series due to dangerous tackles that the referees couldn’t seem to spot? At the weekend an incident at the Bull ring almost cost the life of a player, the referee didn’t see anything wrong with it. Witnesses mentioned that what happened was a clear tip tackle.

How long will we complain about the ref on Saturday evening, then forget about it on Monday. Only to get the same the coming weekend?

If we can’t guarantee the basic safety of a player, guess what, parents will pull their kids away from the game, you all know how that will end. If a team gets short changed by a refs bad call, time and again..

Tales of the KRRS having no training programmes whatsoever for referees is sad, I am told that the only training they have had of late is by one of them, Constant Cap, who volunteers his time to take the refs through video sessions and practicals.

While I completely understand the challenges facing KRRS, financial and human resource, correct me if I am wrong but it doesn’t cost a thing for a referee to take time out and watch a video or two on implementation of a law. To better his skills.

Referee allocations are apparently done on ‘who you know’ basis, so if Poghie knows the guys on the allocation committee, he gets more games, more money, doesn’t matter if he is qualified or not.

I feel that there is a laissez faire attitude towards refereeing in this country, that ‘wacha wazushe wata sahau na life iendelee.’ I refuse to continue condoning this mediocrity, it is time the refs and their administration either put in a real effort at their job or just go do something else.

For if we do not get our officiating right, ‘tutakua tunafanya kazi ya kuchota maji na gunia!’ A player who has grown up in this shambolic system, is called up to the national team and suffers under the more stringent application at international level, who loses out?

It is time we stepped up and improved our officiating levels. Something has to change, and change now.

What do you think?

One thought on “It’s The Bladdy Ref!”

  1. allan says:

    this article should be read by kenyan refs the fuck all games

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