In every sport, there is a position on the field that scrutinizes and mediates the match. They come in the form of an umpire, referee or competition judge. In order to enforce the rules and regulations of a sport, these governing members are on the field keeping a constant eye on the match and players. They are held to a high standard and often have a lot of experience in the sport. However, there are times when the referees are under a lot of scrutiny themselves.
There has been research that analyzes whether or not referees show favouritism towards their home nation or team. In a 2010 analysis of this issue in Super 14 Rugby—a season-long tournament played between fourteen teams from New Zealand, Australia, and South Africa—there was a higher winning percentage for the home team when the referee also belonged to the team’s nation. In other cases, the referee could be displaying favouritism due to a perceived moral dilemma—such as trying to account for an earlier refereeing mistake—to make the game equal and fair. In a recent rugby match between Australia and England, head coach of England, Eddie Jones claimed that New Zealand referee James Doleman was “evening things up” in favour of Australia.
Eddie Jones made that claim when England lost to Australia with a final score of 30-14. The game had a couple of penalties which Jones claims was a way the referee could compensate for the reduced manning of the Australian side. Towards the beginning of the match England had a lead of 3 points but it was soon to change with the subsequent penalty cards dealt to each team. The first to receive a card was Swain of the Australian team. He was sent off the field for head-butting. There were also a handful of penalties given out with the second-to-last being handed to Billy Vunipola of the English team. He was flagged with a yellow card 15 minutes before the end of the match. Coach Eddie Jones believed that the sending-off of Vunipola gave the Australian team, which at the time was down to 14 men, the advantage to push ahead and win the game.
Jones believes that favouring a team is part of rugby’s history and that it is normal for referees to display favouritism to the handicapped team. He argues that when a team receives a red card, the referee will attempt to create a balance between the teams. Jones goes on to say that he doesn’t believe that referees are being malicious and that the referee’s intent is just to make the game fairer for both sides.
- Eddie Jones claims referee tried to ‘even things up’ after Australia red card
- Lionel Page & Katie Page, Evidence of referees’ national favourtism in rugby, Working Paper, 2010
keeping an eye on ちゃんと見る
evening up 一様/公平