April 13, 2024

Ben O’Keeffe’s big rant

Rugby referees feel the same way. Following in the footsteps of Mathieu Raynal, Wayne Barnes, the referee of the recent World Cup final, has taken to the podium to condemn the attacks on referees.ith families and children and seeing Anthony that day absolutely broke me. I remember watching that video of Anthony and I was devastated because you see the human side, he confided. Be…

Rugby referees feel the same way. Following in the footsteps of Mathieu Raynal, Wayne Barnes, the referee of the recent World Cup final, has taken to the podium to condemn the attacks on referees.ith families and children and seeing Anthony that day absolutely broke me. I remember watching that video of Anthony and I was devastated because you see the human side, he confided. Ben O’Keeffe’s comments were echoed on social networks, where he recalled the text he had written last May after Anthony Taylor’s incident.

Unfortunately, as a referee at the highest level, I’ve had to accept and get used to the post-match vitriol that fans normalize after every game, he confided. It’s a sad reality that I’ve never had to accept.followed up with a prescient call for responsibility from players and coaches: Referees are part of the game and we need the support of players and coaches to have difficult conversations in private, but also to publicly support their officials – not criticize them. This will change the way fans treat us.

I’ve made some great decisions, and some bad ones that I have to accept. And I have to keep improving it and that motivates me. We need rugby to be the best it can be.