Empathy and Understanding for Rugby League Referees – A Call for Respect

Rugby League Referees Deserve More Empathy and Understanding, Says Top Official

Leading Super League referee Liam Moore has urged rugby league fans to be more mindful of the challenges faced by match officials, as the sport struggles to recruit new referees.

In a candid interview with mental fitness charity State of Mind Sport, Moore opened up about his own toughest moments in the role and the constant scrutiny that accompanies the job of an elite rugby league referee. He firmly believes there should not be a requirement for referees to provide post-match interviews explaining their decisions.

“A lot of things are said in the heat of the moment, a lot of things need to be dissected. So for a referee to come straight out after a game to either explain a decision or answer questions, for me that wouldn’t be appropriate,” said Moore, who recently officiated the World Club Challenge.

The experienced official stressed the importance of referees being able to talk openly about their mental well-being, acknowledging the significant impact of the “incessant abuse” they receive from fans and online. Moore emphasized the need for resilience, but also the value of sharing feelings and not bottling up emotions.

“People say you have to have a tough skin to be a referee – and that is absolutely right but I think the talking part of it is the key,” he explained. “Don’t bottle up your feelings, don’t say everything is okay if it is not. Share with people how you feel. Referees are human as well, we are not emotionless creatures that go out on to a field.”

Moore also revealed how refereeing has helped him lose over two stone in weight, and described the adrenaline rush and unique experiences that keep officials coming back, despite the challenges they face.

The interview provides a valuable insight into the demands and pressures placed on rugby league referees, underscoring the need for greater empathy and understanding from the sport’s passionate fan base.

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