A topic that comes up quite often in conversations between our referees is referee abuse. Three out of the five cases at the last disciplinary committee were for referee abuse. Two games have been abandoned this year for it and there have been countless red and yellow cards dished out.
As a referee you expect criticism, it's natural, you make mistakes and you make judgement calls that are going to go against one team. Constructive feedback is good because it helps a referee learn, however, like most things, there are right and wrong way to do it. Aggressively shouting and swearing from the touchline is not going to have any positive impact.
Refereeing takes a lot of commitment and it's not a case of just turning up and doing a game so the last thing you want is for someone to be swearing at you and calling you a cheat. That's when it stops being fun and referees question why they do it. That's why there's a shortage of referees in West Cumbria and games have been postponed on several occasions this season.
Do clubs do enough? Do all clubs challenge the coach that is shouting abuse at the referee, does someone pull him to one side and have a word? Do they speak to the spectators swearing at the referee and calling him a cheat? Without doubt there are times when this does happen, but does it happen enough?
People reading this might be thinking 'I don't shout abuse at referees' but do you see other people doing it and not say anything? If you're prepared to accept other people doing it, you're doing your part to support it.
Rugby League, especially at a Community Level, is about enjoyment, for the players, coaches, volunteers, spectators and also the referee. Please do you part to make sure everyone enjoys their game.
If anyone does have any constructive feedback about refereeing in West Cumbria then feel free to email email@example.com.
Updated 16:18 - 18 Jun 2017 by Rob Jones