HAVE YOUR SAY: Should there be neutral referees at international games?

There has been a lot of debate so far in the 2017 Rugby League World surrounding referees and whether there should be neutral referees at every game or not.

Eyebrows were raised on Saturday when Super League referee Ben Thaler was appointed the referee in England’s game against Lebanon at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney.

Thaler, 36, was born in Wakefield in England and has been an RFL official in the Super League since 2005 and even started his international career in the same year.

England beat Lebanon 29-10 at the weekend and there were a lot of people on social media complaining about the fact that an English referee took charge of a game that England were competing in.

But this wasn’t the first case that someone has refereed a game when their own country is playing in the 2017 Rugby League World Cup.

In fact, there has been quite a few games in the tournament that have been referred by someone who is from the same nation.

However, some argued back, stating that the referees are 100% professional and that they are impartial no matter where they are from or what teams they are refereeing.

We at Love Rugby League want to know if you think there should be neutral referees at international games. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


  1. Yes yes 100% yes. Why does rugby league always leave itself wide open for controversy/ridicule. Ryan Hall’s infamous (no) try decision in 2014 four nations should have put an immediate end to none neutral refs

  2. The game is not strong enough internationally yet to support this. At some point there is going to be an English or Australian ref marshalling their own country…

    We need to develop an international standard for the referees to achieve and this will mean bringing French or Canadian referees TO England and South Pacific Islanders and Asian referees to Australia to bring them up to standard.

    This is the only way neutrality can occur in the sport

  3. No. As a referee, I can honestly say that biased referees are few and far between. To achieve the role of Match Official at the highest level, there is no way they could even be perceived to be biased. Typically it is the spectator’s bias that fuels a desire to blame anything other than their teams failure to win. The short story is that it should be the best referee for the game – without any taking of the teams into account!

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