Referees are essential in all sport but especially in a game that is played at such a high pace, intense physicality and capability for emotions to boil over, such as rugby league.
As such whilst as fans we might moan about match officials and the decisions they make, they’re a necessity for our sport and on the whole do a brilliant job as well.
The French Federation for Rugby League (FFR) have recently had their training course for the upcoming year in which they’ve looked at specific rules and the FFR have shared that with fans.
That transparency will help fans understand what specific laws referees will be looking out for and serves as a strong method to establish trust within the sport.
Led by Benjamin Casty who was the man in the middle for three matches at the recent World Cup, 17 officials took to the course which included both gym work and study as well.
The FFR announcement unveiled what was being looked at and is summarised below.
“-The 10-metre line in defence, and its respect, no more, no less
“-The “plus six”, better known as “six again”, and when to apply them? When to penalize them?
“-The “slowdowns” of the holding after breakthroughs. What sanctions? Exclusions or not?
“-Obstructions. When to whistle or not?
“-Bites. The why and how of this new phenomenon. With the first explanations”
What was also announced was some data surrounding the number of times officials are required to make decisions, and the transparency continued with an admission that elite referees make mistakes at a rate of approximately 10%.
“Benjamin invited the referees to analyse their performance, their attitude, their mastery. All this supported by the fact that a referee makes about 45 decisions per game and that he also makes mistakes on average 10% of the time, or 4 or 5 times per game.”
By announcing and explaining that this is standard for even the elite referees, such as Casty, it helps fans understand that errors can occur but also that officials are aware of that and clearly have no intention or bias.