Planet Rugby statement: Match officials

Rugby referees Credit: Alamy
Rugby referees Credit: Alamy

We at Planet Rugby are first and foremost lovers of our great sport and its unique culture and spirit and want to see it protected.

We understand the importance of match officials and their huge contribution to the sport; without them and their hard work we would have no rugby union.

The recent unsolicited contact from the watching public on several World Rugby match officials, and, most concerningly, their families, together with threats and use of abusive language is absolutely unacceptable.

The actions of some outlets and social media commentators in catalysing some of this discourse is reprehensible in the extreme and is partly responsible for some of these unsavoury messages.

Respect our referees

Planet Rugby, our journalists and our syndicated titles have taken a policy decision that we will not, in future, comment negatively on the personality or demeanour of match officials.

We will of course discuss calls individually in a professional, objective and no-blame manner – in a positive light, looking to explain technicalities and ambiguities.

We stand in complete solidarity with the wonderful team of world class referees, assistant referees and TMOs that facilitate the sport we love.

#RespectOurRefs

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