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Referees get their own 'trade union'

NEWS: Wayne Barnes helped launch the first representative body for senior officials, after the English referee and his family were subjected to threats on social media.


International Rugby Match Officials is designed to give referees a collective voice that can liaise directly with World Rugby.

Barnes refereed his 100th Test in November, between France and South Africa, but the landmark was overshadowed by criticism from Springbok Director of Rugby Rassie Erasmus.

This was followed by a torrent of online abuse.

“For the first time there will be a collective voice,” Barnes said.

[It will be] championing matters of interest ranging from physical and mental wellbeing promotion to upholding the sport’s values and representing international match officials,” he added.

Erasmus was given a two-game ban for his comments, meaning he missed world champions South Africa’s win over England at Twickenham in November.


A subsequent statement from World Rugby said they had held “positive discussions” with Erasmus.

Last week Barnes, a barrister by profession, said he had considered calling time on his career.

Meanwhile, his wife Polly Barnes took to Twitter to condemn the death threats from fans directed at the couple’s children.



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