Rwanda Referees Association (RRA) chairman Eric Rwihizimana (left) with his Ugandan counterpart, Ronnie Kalema at Silver Springs Hotel in Kampala Credit: FUFA Media

Wednesday 18th April, 2018

To: Our Football Coaches,

From: The Judges of Football,

[/media-credit] L-R: Ronnie Kalema (The Author of the Letter), Rosebell Ryamuyamba, FUFA Electoral committee vice chairperson Yusuf Awuye and Muhammed Shaban Ndawula Credit: FUFA Media

Reduce the level of conflict you create with Match officials.

It has not been an easy letter to write, but change is needed. It is not as if we have not had good times together, but I admit compatibility is part of us in line with the technical aspects on the football arena.

The contentiousness, animosity, sarcastic statements, insults, intimidation and abusive language must stop.

It dishonors football and teaches the wrong lessons to the most immediate football stakeholders.

It also costs us our newest and best source of new officials – Some of our referees are your former players. (I would have shared photos to this effect but misinterpretation may take its toll)

 Officiating is an enjoyable act on the pitch. Referees offer the best while officiating to raise the bar for the beautiful game in the country.

Complaints about the men in black are welcome and audience will be given to you irrespective of the manner of your approach.

However, there lies a huge difference in our acceptance of your comments. An abusive teacher loses credibility with the officiating crew almost immediately. As refs, we will hear only the abuse, not the content. We need to work as a unit as it becomes easier to listen and respond to complaints constructively.

I hope this message is received well.

We do watch many of you on a daily at matches. We understand the amount of efforts you put in to get the best results from a game. Sometimes frustrations take control of you, but why turn a larger portion of this frustration on to referees?

We work hard to improve on the standards of referees through various refresher courses to better calls on the field of play.

Mark you they are not perfect like computers.

Are we going to try to be? Absolutely YES! ‘No one hates a bad call more than the referees’.

The quality of the games carries an impact on the final product from the referee but we are absolutely getting better.

However, ours is an impossible task without your aggressive and proactive support.

You have trusted us with your games! Now, trust us with the decisions being made on the field of play. This is a shared need to keep your profession and ours too.

To my referees, we can only gift the beautiful game with the best officiation like never before.

Remember the journey we have trekked till to-date, discussions about modern refereeing and the good systems coaches are using on the field of play. The game has attracted media attention especially with television. FUFA has trained coaches about the FIFA Laws of the game.

The implication for referees is to make the right calls for the coaches to appreciate professionalism.

To regain our status as officials at the FIFA World Cup, AFCON & several other call ups at the international stage, this game requires a lot from us to implement the FUFA refereeing strategy of Integrity, Fitness and Performance”.

 I submit.

Ronnie Kalema

Senior Staff writer at Kawowo Sports mainly covering football

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