The criticism of National Rugby League referee Shayne Hayne recently only compounds the problem sporting competitions face � officials are leaving in huge numbers.
Australian Sports Commission research indicates that football codes particularly are seeing upwards of 50-70% of new recruits leave in their first year of officiating.
Just as young people look to the elite sports personalities to find inspiration, their officiating peers do likewise to find top-level representatives to admire. Imagine then the perception young officials are getting of their chosen sports. Why would they want to continue? The abuse is excessive, the remuneration insufficient, and even top-level officials have to have a second occupation to survive.
Imagine also these same young officials reading the newspapers, in particular Neil Goffet�s weekly column in the Newcastle Herald (28/8/03). The column simply added to an already confused and ignorant public perception of what sports officials go through each week.
If this trend continues, referee standards will continue to plummet. Perhaps the reason why the standards are so low is that the competition for places just isn�t there. The competition isn�t there because comments like that of Neil Goffet�s are discouraging officials from continuing on to higher levels and in doing so dilapidating the very sports they are trying to improve.