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Respect referees or go elsewhere says club chairman
ESPN Staff
March 28, 2014

The chairman of Newbury RFC in Berkshire has written to supporters telling them to find another club to support if they cannot respect the match officials.

Hywel Price-Richards wrote his letter following the home game against Cheltenham when he was upset by comments aimed at the referee and especially that a number of fans booed the officials as they left the field after the defeat.

"If you feel this is the correct way to behave I suggest you find another club to support as your attitudes are not welcome," wrote Price-Richards. "We do not wish to descend to the depths prevalent at some association football clubs. The referee is our guest and should be treated as such with courtesy and dignity."

Speaking to the BBC, Price-Richards said he wanted supporters to "start treating our officials in rugby with the respect they deserve". He went on: "We get some clubs who visit and the behaviour of their supporters is intolerable. We are not having it.

"Without [referees] we don't have games. They don't get paid and they don't deserve the treatment they get. I am not against witty comments, that is part of rugby tradition, but to be abusive is not acceptable. You hear cries from supporters who are 150 yards away, but how can they possibly tell? The referees know the laws better than spectators.

"I think it's been getting worse over the years, it's not in a bad state but when you look at football and the way they scream at referees that is not acceptable and if we are not careful we will go down that route."

Price-Richards said that he had had a good response to his letter from supporters.

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