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Thread: Abuse of refs

  1. #1
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    Abuse of refs

    One of the lads sharing stories over ales at the Rag and Famish this afternoon spent a bit of time in the Moore Park Bunker today. He said that a copy of a front page article from the local Perth rag was doing the rounds in the bunker. The article was about a letter sent by Rugby WA to clubs concerning abuse of refs at junior matches.

    Anyone know what's going on?

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  2. #2
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    Rugby WA threatens consequences in letter to clubs about referee abuse at junior matches

    Rourke Walsh
    The West Australian
    Fri, 28 August 2020 2:00AM
    Referee abuse at junior rugby matches has reached a crisis point, with administrators forced to send a letter to all clubs warning of harsh penalties for those who keep targeting officials with derogatory comments.

    The West Australian has obtained a letter signed by the heads of Rugby WA, Rugby WA Juniors and the WA Rugby Union Referees Association which lays bare the “unfortunate and disturbing” trend of match officials being abused across all age grades.

    In one case, a young female referee who had been involved with the sport since the age of five quit her officiating position after her capabilities and general competence were questioned by a coach in an under-13s match.

    “Clearly for most of us this is unacceptable behaviour but it is still occurring,” the letter, dated August 27, says.

    “Referees do not need to be told to have ‘thicker skins’ or that the comments and abuse go with the role.

    “Like most in our community game, all referees are volunteers and all deserve to have rights to their status and wellbeing protected by participating in a safe environment for all.
    “It also seems that some are also not aware that these actions are in breach of the formal Australian Rugby code of conduct that all participants sign up to.

    “If you are not aware of this then please feel free to make yourself aware of the simple behaviour standards expected from us all — players, coaches, administrators, volunteers and spectators.”

    The letter says other unacceptable incidents this season include coaches approaching junior referees at half-time to question decisions, people acting as assistant referees and then commenting and accusing the field referee of bias and poor decision-making and general abuse from people on the sidelines.

    It goes on to say the “win at all costs” mentality is creating “monsters” on the sideline who are scaring young referees away from the game.

    “It is very disappointing that we have had to write this letter and hope that most of the community who are doing the right thing will assist in ensuring that our game is for all,” the letter says.

    “We must appreciate that match officials are crucial to the game and in particular at our junior age grades they are an important stakeholder that facilitates our matches and should be fully supported appropriately and in the true spirit of ensuring everyone can participate in Rugby Union safely and without fear of abuse.”

    The letter warns rugby union clubs to change behaviour or face formal action from competition administrators.

    Under the code of conduct potential offenders can face sanctions including fines, suspensions, and even being banned from attending matches.

    https://thewest.com.au/news/perth/ru...ng-b881650874z

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  3. #3
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    This the email that was sent

    All Rugby in WA Community Members,


    Match Officials Abuse

    1. Introduction: We write to advise of an unfortunate and disturbing trend of match official (MO) abuse that we are witnessing across all age grades and levels of Community Rugby. This is not a new occurrence but in this COVID disrupted year seems to be more prevalent and is certainly having a significant and negative impact on our referee and match official community in the WA Rugby Union Referee Association (WARURA).

    2. Club Hosting Model: This year is the first year where all games, whether senior/junior level, are now all being played at clubs. This alone is placing a strain on the availability and number of MO resources. However, this is being exacerbated by an increasing number of issues where Referee's at all levels are receiving a mix of abuse, derogatory comments, unhelpful advice or directions to have “thicker skins”.

    3. The Issues: The concern over the season to date relates to a number of incidents including:

    • Coach's approaching Junior Referees at half time to question decisions. This is against the Rugby Code of Conduct (CoC) and Competition Rules so is a completely unacceptable
    • behaviour.
    • People acting as Assistant Referee’s then commenting and accusing the field Referee of bias
    • and poor decision making.
    • General sideline commentary and abuse by parents and spectators of Referee's and their
    • understanding of the game.
    • The most unfortunate incident though being a very specific case example of a young female who had played the game from U/5, and then took up refereeing, only to have her capabilities and general competence questioned by a coach in an U/13 match. This very negative experience has resulted in her quitting from refereeing.



    4. The expected standard: Clearly for most of us this is unacceptable behaviour but it is still occurring. It also seems that some are also not aware that these actions are in breach of the formal Australian Rugby CoC that all participants sign up to. If you are not aware of this then please feel free to make yourself aware of the simple behaviour standards expected from us all; players, coach's, administrator's, volunteers and spectators.

    5. The mindset: Particularly in juniors winning a competition is not why we play. It is about participation. There are no jobs or professions on the line !! It is actually the “win at all costs” mentality that assists in creating the "monsters" on the sideline, who do their anger management on the referee.

    6. Importance of young referees: Furthermore, young referees are the future of the association, and will enable the continued operation of the host at clubs’ model. Referees do not need to be told to have "thicker skins" or that the comments and abuse go with the role. Importantly what is not being appreciated by the “abusers” is that mental health and wellbeing is a genuine issue across society, so further challenges to a particular and important group in our society are both inappropriate and potentially damaging. Like most in our community game, all Referees are volunteers and all deserve to have rights to their status and wellbeing protected by participating in a safe environment for all.

    7. Actions to date: In attempting to address this trend the following actions have already been taken:

    • WARURA Presidents letter has been sent out to all clubs, however this has not been widely shared around within the clubs.
    • The Competition Managers have put out regular reminders to the nominated club contacts.
    • The Rugby WA Coaching Manager has also put out a communication through the coaching
    • network.
    • All examples of reports of abuse to date have also had the loss of bonus or competition
    • points in junior age grades regularly applied to teams involved in reported cases.
    • Club Presidents have been asked to formally remind all club members of the importance of
    • support for our Referees and in particular our junior Referees.
    • There are also several specific case examples where formal warnings to stakeholder’s via
    • club leaders have also been issued.
    • For players who transgress it is a simple Red Card matter if on field. There are already a
    • couple of case examples where a penalty up to 4 weeks suspension has been issued.
    • However, there are still reports of abuse over the last weekend of matches.



    8. Referee/Coach actions: In attempting to address some of the matters driving some of the on field frustrations around foul play we ask that Coach's and players focus in training on the correct techniques and remind player of the correct skills in these areas:

    • Focus on addressing any dangerous play and in particular slinging tackles.
    • Players attacking the rucks - no control.


    9. To assist clubs and coach’s in this, Referee's will try and police these aspects even more stringently. However no matter the intent it is important to recognise that the Referee cannot and does not always see all aspects of the game.

    10. Next Steps: As a result, going forward the following will now be further applied to all the measures above.

    • The first is to widen the network of communications on this matter by releasing this letter across the wider community reminding all participants of our role and values.
    • We ask all participants at all levels take heed of this issue and action the necessary support for the MO's and where necessary remind others in your club or on the sideline of the correct behaviour.
    • Take note that formal action can and will be instigated against any "Offender" and while this process is time consuming and negative energy a CoC case will be instigated for any serious off field abuse.
    • Under a CoC process the potential range of penalties for anyone who transgresses include; Fines, Suspensions, and even being banned from attending matches.
    • Any report of Abuse - will continue to incur the loss of junior competition points for the teams involved.
    • In addition if, during a junior match,

      • A team representative or spectator engages in match official abuse,
      • Or on the back of an abuse report,
    • There will not be an appointed MO to that team until the WARURA is satisfied as to the
    • security and safety of the match official's.
    • Satisfaction will be determined on a case by case basis at the WARURA discretion.
    • If there is a second issue with a particular club the WARURA will likely extend the withdrawal of appointing MO to that entire junior club.


    11. Your Support: So our request to you all is to please:

    • Respect the Referee, respect the call.
    • This is Community Rugby. It is about fun and participation.
    • Respect both teams, applaud good play on both sides.
    • The coaches and referees are volunteers.
    • Recognise that Referees are human and are trying their best.
    • If you think you can do better, then get qualified as a MO and assist by taking up the role.
    • Understand that there is an appropriate pathway to communicate frustration and concerns.
    • This should not be direct to junior Referee's during or immediately post a match. Rather it should be via their Referee coach or through your Rugby club's leaders to the competition manager and referee association.



    12. Conclusion:

    It is very disappointing that we have had to write this letter and hope that most of the community who are doing the right thing will assist in ensuring that our game is for all. We must appreciate that match officials are crucial to the game and in particular at our junior age grades they are an important stakeholder that facilitates our matches and should be fully supported appropriately and in the true spirit of ensuring everyone can participate in Rugby Union safely and without fear of abuse.

    We thank you for your attention to this matter and hope that we can all assist to address this issue and progress through the balance of the season safely for all.

    Mike Gowdy
    President RugbyWA Juniors
    Patrick Spillane
    President WARURA
    Francis Williams
    President Rugby WA



    Any queries on these matters can be directed via the appropriate level competition manager as below:

    Junior (All grades U/18)
    Seniors

    Monique Day-Smith
    Justin Shakeshaft

    Email
    Email

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  4. #4
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    It is so disappointing to read that a young girl has quit the refereeing pathway at this time - let’s hope that this issue of abuse becomes more manageable and she feels able to re consider - it should be an enjoyable experience for all involved.

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  5. #5
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    That is very sad. Examples of poor adult behaviour are often criticised in Rugby and RL because of the potential for it to trickle through to junior ranks.

    When you have an ex-Wallaby skipper and wannabe CEO whining on TV about referee decisions on a weekly basis.....just sayin'

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    We have a great dad who completed the training and runs out for our junior team to officiate. When he gets it wrong a quick sorry to the respective bench/coaches and play on. Def no abuse that has been directed his way. However have seen/heard some pretty disgusting comments in the past.

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    Generally speaking you aren’t learning much if your lips are moving!!!

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    It’s gotten pretty shit on the sidelines.

    Propose that prior to the season get all coaches, managers and referees to RugbyWA for a meet and greet.

    Prior to the match starting the referees speak to the captains.
    Although not a requirement - ask all parents and sidelines to congregate at the halfway line - introduce themselves - say they aren’t going to get everything correct, but a reminder to act civilly etc.
    Will take 30-45 secs tops.

    As a group we’ve invited referees down to a training session to go through interpretations and what is wanted. The team get to know who the refs are.

    Watching adults swearing at kids reffing is pretty low.

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    Last edited by G_Beard; 30-08-20 at 21:07.

  8. #8
    Veteran SNOB's Avatar
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    I remember some years back that we had to have a “spectator monitor “ walking the touch lines telling parents to pull their heads in.
    Unfortunately I heard the monitor getting and earful of verbal as well! I can only assume that these people don’t come from a real rugby background.

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    May the FORCE be with you!

  9. #9
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    In Sydney for home games we are required to provide a Ground Marshall.

    The ground marshall is required to control the crowd. IF the referee believes that the crowd is being rude, disrespectful, getting out of control. The Ref will stop the game call out the GM and tell them which section of crowd is in need of a friendly talking too. Refs have called a game early.

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  10. #10
    Veteran Ecky's Avatar
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    There is supposed to be a Ground Marshall at every club in Perth comp too.

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  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by .X. View Post
    In Sydney for home games we are required to provide a Ground Marshall.
    Could be worse mate - if you ever get to the stage of the junior Mungos out your way - having to post security gourds to keep order.

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  12. #12
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    "Security gourds"

    Yes, shasta, I've always thought security staff had the brains of pumpkins.

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