INTOUCH Refs cop­ping spec­ta­tor abuse

Rugby World - - NEXT MONTH - Keith Warhurst, Stock­port, Gtr Manch­ester

I ref­eree ju­nior age groups from U12s through to U16s and re­cently I’ve seen, and been sub­jected to, a large rise in par­ents crit­i­cis­ing from the touch­line.

I know rugby is sub­jec­tive but more of­ten than not these are peo­ple who won’t vol­un­teer to help and cer­tainly won’t vol­un­teer to ref­eree. Plus, how is a player ex­pected to lis­ten to and re­spect the ref­eree when his or her par­ents don’t?

In a re­cent match, one par­ent ac­tu­ally told his son on leav­ing the pitch that the re­sult was purely down to my bad de­ci­sions and noth­ing to do with any­thing else! How can we ex­pect our young play­ers to thrive when this is the ex­am­ple be­ing set by some par­ents? RW says: Spec­ta­tor abuse is a tricky area as ref­er­ees’ pow­ers don’t ex­tend to sanc­tion­ing mem­bers of the pub­lic. Sadly, match of­fi­cials need a thick skin but for se­ri­ous cases, clubs should step in to curb such dis­taste­ful be­hav­iour.

Top ref JP Doyle

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