SANZAAR CEO defends merit-based referee appointments after ‘hometown’ referees claim

SANZAAR CEO defends merit-based referee appointments after ‘hometown’ referees claim

SANZAAR have responded to recent criticism of officials after statistics found that hometown referees gave more penalties to the home side in South African-based Super Rugby fixtures, with CEO Andy Marinos saying that the statistics need to be validated.

Australian rugby website, Green and Gold Rugby, published a study on their forum which found that South African referees, in control of matches against non-South African opponents, had awarded the home sides 159 more penalties in total than the away sides.


The statistics contained little to no context but looked at games from the start of the 2017 Super Rugby season. The website have since written an open letter calling on SANZAAR chief executive Andy Marinos to respond to their claims.

Image via: Green and Gold


During a bushfire fundraiser, Marinos said the outcry was reactionary and defended Sanzaar’s merit-based approach to referee appointments. 

‘It’s very interesting that the whole neutrality [issue] comes up, when we’ve been on a meritocracy basis for the last 10 or 12 years, so I find that quite interesting at this point in time,’ Marinos told reporters. ‘I think you’ve got to take a lens to where it’s coming from.


‘People are always producing statistics, but we will at the right time communicate our view on where we are from a competition perspective and the performances of our referees. I just don’t understand where, all of sudden, after 10 years of meritocracy, suddenly now neutrality becomes an issue because a team, or teams, are suddenly are now feeling aggrieved by processes.

‘I think what we need to do, is we need to validate those numbers, we need to put a proper picture in place, which is something we’ll do and we’ll be responding in due course on that.’

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