View Full Version : Old Farts?

15-08-06, 14:08
So do you all have a hard time finding enough refs for all these matches?
How often do you ref in the UK?

In the US it is still the majority of Sat only, unless in a tourny, a few games are being played on Friday night as well if facilities permit.


Wert Twacky
15-08-06, 14:08

I work full time, so one appointment on a Saturday is about normal, altough occasionally a Sunday game, or midweek fixture crops up as well.
There are some who can get away for midweek Uni/Schools fixtures on Wednesdays, aswell as Saturdays.

Regarding the story on PR, I do feel that players' welfare comes second, in the bigger corporate picture, to the (or $$$!). Why else would they want to pack in so many games? Half the guys are knackered, operated on etc etc in their early 20s - it's a bit of a farce IMHO.

Simon Thomas
15-08-06, 17:08
Sona - the matches referred to in the Planet Rugby article are the Elite end of our game in England. The Premier League games are covered by our Elite Squad of mostly full time professional referees. They referee all week and it depends on when the matches are played.
Below them are the top National Panel guys (who do National 1). The we have the rest of the Panel - so maybe 50 referees in all who handle the professional and most semi-professional teams' matches. For the various European Cups / Shields / Vases for the elite clubs across the 6 Nations, then the elite refs get nominated along with guys from Wales, Scotland, Ireland, France and Italy.

Us mere mortals operate in what is called the Community Game - and we have about 5,500 Society referees in England. Some estimate there are a similar number of Foundation qualified referees in England non-Society who do club, university, and college/schools matches.

Click here to see (http://www.hantsrefs.org.uk/hrursstats05_06.pdf) the Annual Report I have to do for my Society and County Union. It shows how many matches we do (up to 2,000 or so in a season in just Hampshire) and how many each of our top refs did - big spread of matches done and no correlation to grade levels. But the average was 15.5 per referee across 112 active members in 2005-06. We only handle matches at level 6 and below (Regional 2nd division) down to 15 (lowest county league), plus all the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and Vets XVs matches.
Most of our members have full time jobs, others are teachers (so have lots of time off - who is going to 'bite' ?) - so we most referee Saturday afternoon Leagues (50%+ of matches). We also have Colts (U19) and Ladies Leagues on Sunday afternoons. Sunday mornings are for Youth (U17, U16, U15 & u14 leagues. And then mid-week there are schools, colleges and universities matches to cover.
Some of our refs are active every week, others less frequently, some do a Saturday afternoon match only - others can do 3 or 4 matches a week, Sat pm, Sun am and pm and Wed pm !

15-08-06, 17:08

Link doesn't work.

Personally, as a student I do as much as I can get really, I don't have the stats of what I did last season but including TJ appointments, I think I broke the 70 mark last year. However, I am in the lucky position of having midweek appointments regularly (Cambridge has midweek colleges as well as schools rugby, on top of Uni Level games) as well as the flexibiliity of a student lifestyle.

As for the PR article, any player can't play 60 games as the guy suggests, as it would indicate a new found ability to play both internationally and at club level at the same time. But he gets the point over well enough.

15-08-06, 17:08
Thanks, that is what I was wondering. In the US we have far fewer teams and far fewer refs. I know that a number of our matched go uncovered each weekend due to the lack of refs, the clubs are then left to fend for themseleves. I am still struggling to understand how the levels of games equate to what we see here, there are so many levels there in the UK. How do they match up a refs grade with what games suit their level of game? Is there corelation?

15-08-06, 21:08
From the Ulster Society of R F R - apart from the contacted/elite refs who Ref All Ireland Div 1 Games, and form the 'team' from which are selected the Celtic, Euro Cop/Conference 6 Nations and Tri Nations etc refs and TJs, we select from over 100 refs for the Domestic game in Ulster ause of - 6th and occasionally 7th XVs up. Sadly many of the fun games at Easter and Christmas with scratch teams have ceased because of Insurance problems Some of the lowest games are scratched at the last minute, but most refs get games fairly regularly. er - why old farts - ?

Simon Griffiths
15-08-06, 22:08
Oracle, welcome to RugbyRefs.

The 'Old Farts' statement is from the occassion when Will Carling said that the RFU was run by a committee of 57 old farts. It's now used frequently if someone wishes to complain about the way the RFU is run. I must add that a lot of the flack (around 75-80%) that the RFU get is actually mis-guided and should in-fact be squared well and truly at the feet of PRL (a self-appointed group run by the owners of the Premiership clubs).

(You may be able to tell which side of the argument I usually support - and this as a life-long Gloucester supporter).

Simon Thomas
16-08-06, 12:08
Sorry chaps that link didn't work - it should do now (mixed up '_'and '-' in file name!), if you are interested in our 2005-06 stats

Click here to see (http://www.hantsrefs.org.uk/hrursstats05_06.pdf) the Annual Report I have to do for my Society and County Union.

Much of Sona's question about referee grades and levels of matches has been covered before on other threads here (but I can't remember which ones !)

In England all Society Referees are graded at a number level (a few Societies have carried on with the old B and C grades). All matches either have an obvious level (1st XV have League status) or an estimated one (2nd XV = + 3 levels, etc). Colts and Schools 1st XV level 8/9 usually. In some cases the Society appointment officers will up or down level specific matches based on local knowledge.
The RFU rule is that you cannot referee more than two levels above your grade in Englande, and some Societies restrict it to one level only.
So at most times our referees are covering matches graded at or below their level - usually we do not have enough level 6, 7 and 8 to go around all refs garded at those levels. In Hampshire those being considered for upgrade will be appointed to matches one level above their current level and assessed.
An extra issue is that only CRB regisistered referees can cover Youth/Schools U18 and below matches.
The matches that remain uncovered are usually at the lowest levels (14 and 15) and mostly go to Club Referees or volunteer players outside of the Society system.
Our appointments and re-appointments system is a major task and great effort is made to gove all referees a good spread of matches in type, location, challenge, etc. And for referees on a development route, significant forward planning is needed to get them the right matches to qulaify for the next stage on their way to hopefully the National Panel.

Simon Thomas
16-08-06, 12:08
The old 'farts' does indeed go back to Carling's time and refers to the 57 members of the RFU Council made up of County representatives, ex-Internationals, etc. Mostly gentlemen in their 50s and 60s and keen on wearing a RFU blazer and tie.

As Heinz have 57 varieties and beans may encourage you to pass wind - hence 57 old farts.

16-08-06, 17:08
Wahey, 31st equal for me, isn't too bad!

Nice report though Simon, even if it does have a rather flattering photo of Ray on the front!!!

17-08-06, 22:08
I try to make myself available every Saturday, but having 5 kids, that's not always possible. I lost half of last season to injury - had to have knee surgery!