There are plenty of reasons why becoming a referee will be the best decision you could make this year. From your own personal health gains to playing a crucial role in the development of officiating in the UAE, being a referee will open opportunities you may not have as a player, such as international travel. Plus, referees get to be right in the middle of the game they love.
Officiating rugby is very rewarding, a great way to stay fit, meet new people and give something back to the game you love. The only prerequisite is a love of the game and a pair of boots.
As part of the UAERF’s commitment to developing officiating in this country, anyone with a desire to train as a referee will be fully supported and given specialised training both on and off the field.
“For anyone wanting to get more involved in rugby, other than playing, then refereeing is definitely a role you would enjoy”
These are all great reasons to consider training as a referee – but when you combine the opportunity for professional development; with refereeing as a career path –then it’s a no-brain decision.
“For anyone wanting to get more involved in rugby, other than playing, then refereeing is definitely a role you would enjoy”. Comments Harieta Vilsoni, one of UAE Rugby’s newest up and coming match officials.
Miss Vilsoni, who grew up watching her father referee in Fiji, had always kept in mind that one day she would like to challenge herself and become a referee too and in 2017 attended the 15s Level 1 and 2, Match Officiating Course run by the UAERF.
“Being a Match Official isn’t just about using the whistle, hand signalling, giving out a yellow/red card, or managing the game. You’re virtually looking at a ‘hundred and one’ things occurring on and around that moment and movement of play. Your communication and player-management skills are always put to the test. You’re cheered on, jeered against but appreciated too and although it is challenging, it is highly enjoyable. I love the action and intensity of each game, plus I get a front row seat at every match!”
Like many young rookie referees, Harieta is still learning and despite the challenges, loves the experience. Her father, veteran referee and player, Maniue Vilsoni, also encourages those interested to take up the role and give something back to the game.
“Refereeing is about being player-friendly and empowering teams.” Mr Vilsoni, commented for Yalla Rugby. “Always remember that the game is bigger than anyone! Referees encourage the game to flow and ensure that there is fairness, enjoyment and above all player safety!”
So if you’re a current player considering hanging up your boots, a keen parent or just curious to know what it’s like to be a referee, you’ll find that refereeing is one of the most satisfying contributions you can make to the game of rugby and males and females are equally welcome.