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Monday, 24 January 2011

BLOG: Who'd be a referee?

Sky have today disciplined Andy Gray and Richard Keys, following comments made by the pair whilst off air during the Wolves v Liverpool game on Saturday. Believing that their microphones were switched off, Keys and Gray agreed that Sian Massey, a 3rd official in the Premier League match they were covering, would not know the offside rule. However, she proceeded to make an excellent decision in allowing Liverpool’s disputed first goal when the Wolves players were adamant that Raul Meireles was offside.

There is no doubt that a referee’s job, whether man or woman, is a tough one. On the rugby pitch however, the difficulties can become somewhat more physical.

For example, in London Irish’s 5th round tie against the Ospreys in this year’s Heineken Cup, referee George Clancy inadvertently gets in the way of Jonathan Thomas’s charge for the line and receives a heavy tackle for his troubles from one of the game’s big hitters, Seilala Mapasua:


Perhaps not wanting to be outdone by his Samoan counterpart, Tongan Lifeimi Mafi gets in on the act by this time taking down referee Tim Hayes in Muster’s Magners League clash with Edinburgh:


Surely a Canterbury Crusaders’ winger running in open field is no risk to a top class referee, wholly adept at judgement and positioning skills? This clip goes to show that there really is no hiding place whatsoever for the officials, as Sean Maitland bulldozes his way through the unfortunate Chris Pollock. It is hard not to see the irony of the slogan on Mr Pollock’s shirt:


Who would be a referee? The official in this next clip probably asked himself that very question after being sent tumbling to the ground by this scrum half’s box kick, although fortunately Steve Martland claims to not remember the incident. I should think that is for the best Steve but you can relive the moment time and again here:


Obviously these are freak events and the majority of referees leave the pitch unscathed. However, perhaps officials, both men and women, don’t get the credit they deserve for simply doing their jobs. For if it weren’t for them there would be no match taking place in the first place, and no contentious issues to debate the next day. I for one am delighted Sian Massey got her big decision correct at the weekend and I am even more delighted with the genius of Sean Davey here. If he ever gets fed up with the pressures of refereeing, an acting career surely awaits:


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