Ex-Super League referee Ian Smith reveals whether officials have ‘favourite’ teams

Being a referee is the hardest job in the sporting world.

Criticised by both sets of opponents’ fans, officials are targeted for each and every decision, but of course they are human so they do make mistakes.

However, some supporters often go even further, claiming a certain ‘bias’ against their own team. Finally, a former Super League referee has cleared that accusation of ‘bias’ up once and for all.

Ex-Super League referee Ian Smith was one of the leading officials of his generation, hanging up his whistle in 2010 after over 300 Super League games.

Those games were spread over a period of a 12-year professional career and now he has had his say on whether referees have ‘favourites’ within the sport.

“Absolutely not, we couldn’t care less who wins. It’s about their (referees’) careers and performing to the best of their abilities,” Smith told the Dockhouse Rugby Show.

“There is only one Grand Final and one Challenge Cup Final (to referee in) and they all want them.

“So to say there is ‘I’ve got a favourite team and I’ll peel this t-shirt off and I’ve got a Wigan top on underneath, it’s nonsense.”

Smith’s first professional game was Blackpool v Bramley in 1998. His first Super League game saw him take charge of London Broncos’ home game against the then-named Salford City Reds on 7 August 1999.

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Sir thunder rod
Sir thunder rod
20 days ago

That really didn’t clear anything up. Of course they have a bias. To not have one makes you inhuman. We all have them. I would’ve preferred to have heard him say “I have a bias, but when we referee we do so because we love the game and the game is larger than any bias” I’d just like the truth. Turns out Ian Smith may have told a little white lie.