Top English rugby ref hits out at Gary Neville remarks
Gallagher Premiership referee Christophe Ridley has hit out at remarks made by ITV football pundit Gary Neville following England’s exit from the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
Neville was scathing of the referee in the wake of England 2-1 loss to reigning champions France, both on air and on Twitter. Neville tweeted: “Ref is a joke!” following a number of controversial calls that didn’t go England’s way.
Ref is a joke!
— Gary Neville (@GNev2) December 10, 2022
His comment has received over 130,000 likes.
Ridley criticised Neville’s stance, pointing out the ‘ripple effect’ of such comments, which can have consequences for referees at all level of the game and indeed, other sports.
“The ripple effect of this tweet impacts refereeing standards in the long term,” wrote Ridley on Twitter. “Even for those who do pick up a whistle, in the end all you’re left with is the referees that are able to tolerate and survive … not the actual best referees!
“Unknowingly this damages the game.”
The ripple effect of this tweet impacts refereeing standards in the long term.
Even for those who do pick up a whistle, in the end all you’re left with is the referees that are able to tolerate and survive … not the actual best referees!
Unknowingly this damages the game. https://t.co/v1ySSmlJcl
— Christophe Ridley (@ChrisRidley1993) December 11, 2022
It is widely taken that grassroots rugby suffers from a trickle-down effect from the professional game. There’s also a perception that the effect of refereeing abuse in the vastly more popular round ball game, where such behaviour has become normalised, is also spilling over into rugby on social media.
Rugby union has it’s own, homemade problems to deal with in this area. Bans have been handed out recently to high-profile coaches for targeting referees in post-press conferences and on social media in recent weeks.
Former referee Greg Garner told RugbyPass recently that he believes that the narrative around referees not being held accountable is simply not true.
“I strongly disagree with those who say there is no accountability and this is the best way to drive up refereeing standards,” he said.
“You only have to look at this current period leading up to a World Cup to see that 18 referees have been given matches. Only 12 of them will get to France 23 – and that process is all about performance assessment.
“If you go back to the last World Cup, some very experienced international referees didn’t make the final cut because in the eyes of World Rugby they weren’t performing well enough at the time, so I really struggle to see how there’s no consequences?
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Hi Nick, as always a very high standard. I am really concerned about our breakdown and D as I see these as indispensable parts of a winning team. I suspect our coaches struggle to motivate the guys to perform consistently and this is compounded when, like the Tahs, there is a 'little to play for' attitude to be got over. What impact are the sports psychiatrists having at top level as I assume this must be their area of specialisation?Go to comments
Holy man, this is a powerful team and more than capable of knocking over Wales 1. Ravai 2. Ikanivere 3. Doge 4. Nasilasila 5. Yato 6. Tamani 7. Botia 8. Mata 9. Lomani 10. Volavola 11. Tuisova 12. Ravouvou 13. Radradra 14. Habosi 15. MasiGo to comments