The National, Thursday July 25th, 2013
By JOHN PANGKATANA
THERE are no incentives for local referee’s to better themselves in the premier Digicel Cup rugby league competition.
In responding to comments this week from Kemele Hela Wigmen and TNA Lions franchise owners Firman Joseph and Gerard Philip, National Referee’s Association secretary Joe Peregua (pictured) said they were open to criticism.
“It is unfortunate but yes, referee’s, despite only doing the job as volunteers week in week out, have been the target of criticism every season,” he said.
He said being labeled incompetent was hard to swallow, as it was not easy to manage games at this level because of the nature of the competition, but he did agree that age was a telling factor on performance levels.
“All referees are volunteers and only do this in their spare time. It is not their fault that the way referees are managing games are causing some concern from franchise owners,” Peregua said.
“Only the old referee’s are left, and who are only hanging in there for the love of the game. We are there through the fights, abuse from players, coaches and spectators every weekend,” he said.
“If we go who will stand in … nobody, because our governing body has done nothing to draw interest from ex-players because they know what they will be subjected to and in return their isn’t a regular wage for them in place,” he added.
“In my 10 years I’m yet to see something tangible for my fellow referee’s to hang on to,” he said.
“If you want to get younger fitter referee’s showing an interest, there must be incentives like a regular salary, training programmes to follow and even sending those earmarked for the future for 6-month stints in Australia,” he added.
“I agree that those comments from the franchise owners are warranted and if our governing body can come up with a weekly assessment programme, access to taping games to judge performances, then yes it will weed out those that are not competent,” he said.
If the franchise want to ensure this then they should talk to the Digicel Cup management to set aside something decent for the referee’s with strings attached, so they perform, Peregua added.