As we reach the final stages of the World Cup pool games, there have been many discussion points along the way. Should England have taken the shot on goal against Wales, what is Ireland’s best backline and are there lessons to be learnt from Japan’s approach to the game. Have you noticed that there has been very little discussion around any controversial decisions made by the match officials?
Ok, so there has been some noise around the hold up to the natural flow of the game when the TMO has intervened. Compared to previous tournaments (and other sporting codes), this sound bite is more akin to a storm in a tee cup. Had we a situation where we were lamenting decision after decision by match officials, then absolutely we would be examining those enforcing the laws of the game. As it transpires, for the most part, we are talking about the games, coaches and players.Ardex Logo to Accompany Whistleblower Article

It would be naïve to think that our current level of officialdom has been achieved over night. Far from it. The genesis of meeting the demands of the modern professional game, can continuously be traced back to the work of attracting, supporting and retaining referees at local provincial level.
Over the last 4 weeks, the Association of Referees Connacht Branch (ARCB), have ran new Trail Member workshops for those who want to become part of the game. Under the guidance of our full time Referee Development Officer (Sean Gallagher), we have twelve new recruits who have embarked on their first steps to become an active referee in Connacht.
This group have a dedicated learning and supported coaching pathway to follow over the coming weeks. Our existing crop of referees are also being fine-tuned via targeted workshops. It is not just the laws of the game that require the highest levels of understanding. What is of equal importance is the when and where you should be as a referee. Workshops around positioning, scrum, maul, line out and tackle/ruck have all been pencilled in for the coming weeks.
While ARCB may not have the array of technology and personnel of the professional game, we leverage all available resources to provide the best prepared officials for the game in Connacht. We can’t claim that we always get it right, but we do strive to get it right.
An example of how ARCB strives to meet the needs of our regional game can be seen via a new pilot scheme we are launching. In order to meet the increased demand for officials and facilitating those limited by the distances they can travel to referee, we are introducing Community Referees. This new level of official will have the same training and support offered to current ARCB referees. The only difference is that they will be ring fenced to referee only youth and school games in a specific geographic area.
Current ARCB officials, known as “Pathway Referees”, will still be available to referee youth and schools games. In addition they are able to progress and referee games across Senior and Junior leagues, be appointed as Touch Judge or 4th/5th official at National League, Inter Pro and Pro 12 matches. This also puts them into the shopping window to advance to National League refereeing panels.
Interested in becoming an ARCB Community Referee or a Pathway Referee? Our next in-take will commence on November 28th. For more details, please email [email protected] or phone 086 1735096. As always, we are grateful to our friends in local radio media for supporting our referee recruitment drives, namely: Galway Bay FM, Mid-West Radio, Shannonside FM and Ocean FM.



Global law trials begin this weekend