Transparency torture

Keo, in his News 24 column, writes that transparency is the most abused term in rugby union.

Officials and coaches are forever talking about it, but none actually subscribes to it.

Let’s start with the IRB’s transparent voting process for the host nation of the 2011 World Cup. A huge fuss was made about the transparency in the process, but when New Zealand emerged winners, the old boys club of the IRB simply announced it would not be releasing the voting.

It was up to the media to speculate, which they did for a good couple of weeks. It made for bad press when transparency would have ensured very good press and credibility around the entire thing.

Closer to home comes the election of the South African Rugby Union president and the refusal of the South African Rugby Union to actually give the vote. It was another example of the lack of transparency, when all it required was a number which would ensure reporting based on fact and not on rumour.

There seems to be common consensus among the media that Oregan Hoskins defeated Brian van Rooyen 27-17, but there has never been anything official. And there never will be because the old boys club has so decreed.

And so we move onto referees; the most protected species in the world of professional rugby. These guys get treated like royalty, they get paid handsomely and they consistently manage to confuse the hell out of the players, themselves and the rugby public. Yet, there never is any consequence because there is no transparency when it comes to referees’ reports.

The referee is never held accountable, which is why George Ayoub and JC Fortuin will endanger the competition prospects of a couple more sides this weekend. Ayoub’s officiating in the Sharks and Crusaders match was an embarrassment. Men have been fired for lesser offences in other walks of life. Ayoub gets given another assignment to stuff up.

The value of a Super 14 play-off

The bloke is not up to it. Neither is Fortuin, who looked bewildered and out of place in Brisbane last weekend. But when the number crunchers at the Super 14 franchises ponder the value of a Super 14 play-off it could be that teams are not there because of the incompetence of Ayoub and Fortuin.

Rugby union is a business. Performance equates to a bank balance, both for the player and, in the Super 14, franchises. Yet incompetent referees can have the most impact on this bank balance at the end of the season.

Give us the reports of the referee assessors. Make it available to the rugby media to report on. Show transparency. Never! That would be too bloody honest and ensure reporting that would be too close to home.

Coaches are as guilty as those who head up the referees’ private club. Coaches bitch and moan about inaccuracy in match reports when it comes to the assessment of players. They bemoan the lack of insight from those who report on the game, but they will do very little to improve the situation.

You ask any coach for his statistical returns and analysis of his players and he won’t give them to you. But in the same breath he will knock your interpretation and accuse you of misleading the rugby public. So put the record straight, let’s hear it from the horses mouth. Please summarise player ‘A’ or player ‘B’s performance.

NEVER. Not in public and certainly not for publication.

Transparency, in the supply of vital information relative to players and referee performances, would ensure accuracy, but a lack of transparency will always lead to confusion and controversy.

It seems those who administer and coach the game thrive on the latter. How else do you explain their obsession in allowing speculation and rumour to dictate column inches, when they have the answers to pertinent questions but won’t share them with the rugby supporter?