Sanzaar says recent statistics found in a study on hometown referees in South African-based Vodacom Super Rugby fixtures need to be validated.
A partisan 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 study looked at games from the start of the 2017 season, but contained little context for the statistic.
On Wednesday, the website followed this up with an open letter calling on Sanzaar chief executive Andy Marinos to respond to their claims.
During a bushfire fundraiser put on by the Lions in Sydney, 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.’
Photo: Steve Haag/Gallo Images/Getty Images