Who'd Be a Referee? Proof That, Male Or Female, Its a Tough Job

Steve MunfordContributor IJanuary 26, 2011

BRIVE, FRANCE - DECEMBER 12:  Referee George Clancy sends off Guillaume Ribes (l) during the Brive v London Irish Heineken Cup Pool 6 match at the Stadium Municipal on December 12, 2009 in Brive, France.  (Photo by Michael Steele/Getty Images)
Michael Steele/Getty Images

Sky have today disciplined Andy Gray and Richard Keys, following derisory comments made by the pair whilst off air during the Wolves vs Liverpool game on Saturday.

Believing that their microphones were switched off, Keys and Gray agreed that Sian Massey, a third official in the Premier League match they were covering, would not know the offside rule.

However, the female assistant proceeded to make a mockery of the broadcasters’ allegations by making an excellent decision in allowing Liverpool’s disputed first goal.

This is just yet another example of the difficulties today’s referees face. On the rugby pitch however, the dangers become somewhat more physical.

For example, in London Irish’s fifth round tie against the Ospreys in this year’s Heineken Cup, referee George Clancy inadvertently gets in the way of Jonathan Thomas’s charge for the line and receives a heavy tackle for his troubles from one of the game’s big hitters, Seilala Mapasua:


Perhaps not wanting to be outdone by his Samoan counterpart, Tongan Lifeimi Mafi gets in on the act by this time taking down referee Tim Hayes in Muster’s Magners League clash with Edinburgh:


Surely a Canterbury Crusaders’ winger running in open field is no risk to a top class referee, wholly adept at judgement and positioning skills?

This clip goes to show that there really is no hiding place whatsoever for the officials, as Sean Maitland bulldozes his way through the unfortunate Chris Pollock. One can’t help but laugh at the irony of the slogan on Mr. Pollock’s shirt:


Who would be a referee?

The official in this clip probably thought twice about taking to the field again, after being sent tumbling to the ground by this scrum half’s box kick, although fortunately Steve Martland claims to not remember the incident.

I should think that is for the best Steve, but fortunately we can all relive the moment time and again here:


Obviously, these are freak events and the majority of officials leave the pitch unscathed. However, perhaps officials, both men and women, don’t get the credit they deserve for simply doing their jobs; for if it weren’t for them, there would be no match taking place in the first place and no contentious issues to debate the next day.

I, for one, am delighted Sian Massey got her big decision correct at the weekend and I am even more delighted with the genius of Sean Davey here.

If he ever gets fed up with the pressures of refereeing, an acting career surely awaits: