Treatment of Referees and Referee Abuse

We have receive this important request from Surrey Rugby

As we near the pointy end of the season and leagues, Cups and promotions and demotions become more of a reality, there are a increasing numbers of reports of mistreatment and poor respect being shown to referees across the County. It seems we have to have this email every year as the season wears on and the core values of Respect and Discipline have not changed and yet the behaviours of Coaching Staff, Players and spectators continues to cause concern for Officials.

We do not have a game without the referee, 36 players take their boots off and don’t play, and ensuring that the referees in the game have an enjoyable experience will encourage more to come forward and for the standards to thus improve. Ultimately, there are sanctions which will be imposed on both the individual abuser, their team and the Club 1st XV if things don’t improve and this is clearly not where we want the game to go.

  • Entering the field of play during a game as a coach or spectator is unacceptable.
  • Verbally questioning a referees decision from the touchline, throughout a game, is unacceptable.
  • Coaching staff and subs patrolling the whole length of the touchline, following play, is unacceptable.
  • Approaching the referee at half time, unless invited to do so, is unacceptable.
  • Telling players to “ignore the referee” from the touchline or openly disrespecting the referee is unacceptable.
  • Failing to acknowledge the referees participation in the game at the end is unacceptable.
  • Verbally abusing, swearing and making physical contact with a referee is unacceptable at anytime

We all have a responsibility to uphold the Core Values of our great game, and we all know what is acceptable and unacceptable. We have a responsibility as Rugby enthusiasts to challenge poor behaviour when we see or hear it and do something about it. Please ensure this message is raised a priority in your players, Coaches and spectators with immediate effect.


Sean Wickes

Chairman Surrey Rugby Junior Committee