#inspire – celebrating female referees in rugby
Fiona has been a referee for 4 years.
She has followed in her dad’s footsteps, taking the referee course and falling deeper in love with rugby.
In collaboration with our partners at ACME Whistles, we met up with Fiona to chat about what she loves most about refereeing, what motivates her and why more women should take up the whistle.
Can you tell us a little about your relationship with rugby?
I liked sport growing up but wouldn’t have ever called myself “sporty” and although I grew up with rugby, I never thought it was for me.
However, my Dad inspired me to follow in his footsteps and take my referees course and I’ve never looked back- and it’s helped me fall even deeper in love with the sport.
What was your first experience as a Match Official like?
I was invited to take part in the International Women’s Day celebrations at Bath and my first time refereeing was a touch game on the pitch at The Rec! I was so nervous, but I loved it and it was great to get started with a number of other female refs too.
Tell us about your most memorable officiating moment to date.
I got the opportunity to referee at HQ. It might only have been in front of a hundred or so spectators, but getting to referee on the Twickenham pitch is a buzz I’ll never forget.
Who inspired you to take up the whistle?
I grew up standing on the touchline watching my dad referee and he encouraged me to give it a go and has supported and inspired me ever since.
I only wish I’d taken his advice to give it a go earlier!
What motivates you to referee?
I love the challenge that refereeing brings. I really enjoy connecting with and working with the players to give them a platform to play either competitively or just for fun and I get a great sense of satisfaction from a job well done.
I love every moment- it is genuinely fun. It is great to work as a team with other refs.
In a few words, please tell us what it means to you to be a positive role model and INSPIRE other women and girls to get in to refereeing
Refereeing has had such a huge and lasting impact on me and my life, in the best way possible, and I am passionate about getting the message out that it can do that for other women and girls. Put simply, I believe that everyone has got to give it a go- it could change your life forever.If you’re feeling inspired to take up the whistle, find out more about becoming a Match Official here: keepyourbootson.co.uk/referee-toolkit/supporting-match-officials-female/