Tag Archives: Attitude

The Renegade Ref says “Get into both camps!”

As I grow older and I do more coaching of youngsters (well I call them all youngsters) I realise that refereeing is a without a doubt a thankless task. I knew when I was active as a referee that we could never win; now I know that more than ever.

What makes me so sure?

Did you see the rugby on Saturday morning on Sky Sports? The British Lions were playing the All Blacks in Wellington, New Zealand.  Right at the end of the show was a real demonstration of the thanklessness of refereeing.

At the end of the match – which the British Lions won by 3 points – the former All Black player (Sean Fitzpatrick) who was on the panel said he thought the referee did well; the former British Lion – whose name I do not know as he was a replacement for Ian McGeechan – disagreed with him!

The reason? The former Lion wanted the referee to allow the game to flow more.  The British Lions had won the test and the referee had sent a New Zealand player off for a seriously bad tackle. Yet, the winner wanted the referee to let it flow more!

Now here we have two former international rugby players who cannot agree whether the referee did a good job; what hope do you and I stand if international players cannot agree on the quality of the official?

So the simple answer is: Referee how you see fit!

In the office (to create a debate we’ve split into two groups: The “The Execute the Law” group and the “Give What the Game Expects” group.

Both have good arguments attached to them but I think the truth is that you should be a referee who can be in both camps at the same time – or for you intelligent referees: simultaneously!

Because if you’re in the Execute Group you will call the game off if there are no corner flags or the nets aren’t tied back correctly. If you’re in the What The Game Expects Group you could “miss” a yellow card because the players are mates, which could start the next world war.

Now being in both groups is not the easiest thing to do and you will still incur the wrath of some of the players whatever you do – but please get into both groups and have the ability to favour one group in the 1st minute and the other group in the 2nd minute, etc.

In other words: Be Flexible!


As the meerkat says: Refereeing is simples!

In other words: if you’re going into refereeing to become more popular – DON’T

Day 38 – Side-tracked again this time by a Select Group Assistant


Okay tomorrow we will get back to communication, I think, but today I got side-tracked by a comment from a Select Group assistant.

But before we go there – what about this?


Over the past couple of nights it has been flipping cold (unless you’re a polar bear I guess) and during the day the temperature has hardly got above freezing.

Of course, if you’re reading this in Brisbane Australia you’ll have to imagine what it’s like in South-East England.

On Friday the weather people say we’re heading for a positively balmy 9°C, however it’s going to be raining during the day.  What’s that going to do with the field?

If you’re the referee on Saturday with the power to say yes or no what are your plans?  Have you spoken to the home club secretary yet?  If you call him/her tonight – you tell him/her you’re thinking about the game what’s that going to do to your standing with him and consequently your mark?

Anyway, I was hijacked thought wise by the SGAR when he said: “A number of clubs are being investigated – quite correctly – for the actions and words of their supporters.

No fan is allowed to make inflammatory remarks about players BUT they can say what they want about me as an official!


Still as Ronnie Barker used to say in Porridge: “Little victories Gopper, little victories!”

Little Victory #1. Tap your back pocket and silently thank them for paying part of your fee.  You can imagine their frustration if they knew they are paying you!

© Jeff Pettitt 2012

Go on treat yourself you know you’re worth it!

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Day 27 – Getting to the top.

Okay I’m going to break a rule of mine about not moaning about officials to stress how important it is that you don’t moan about officials by moaning about an official!

Yesterday’s newsletter said that many referees have the on-field ability to make it further in their careers, yet because of their off-field demeanour they’ll never get further than where they are.

It also spoke about that you should never be heard belittling other officials either on Social Networks or even in private – then I get not one but two misspelt diatribes from a London FA referee telling me why Mark Clattenburg is a bad referee!

What part of “never belittle another referee” does this official not understand?

Look – there are two ways to have the highest building in town – you can cut everyone else’s down or you can build yours up.

Make sure you do the latter!

The top two English referees in living memory (defined by the fact they’ve refereed the World Cup Final) are/were top class gentlemen.

Make sure that charge can be levelled at you!

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