Soccer has had its fair share of controversies when it comes to assistant referees.
For example, Sian Massey’s performance in Liverpool’s 3-0 win at Wolves in January 2011 led to Sky Sports commentator Andy Gray being sacked, presenter Richard Keys resigning and reporter Andy Burton being suspended.
There was no quibbling or snide remarks yesterday, however, when Canadian Coralie Greaban took charge of the SSE Yorkshire Division Three match between Old Grovians and Burley at Elm Tree Farm.
“That is the best performance by a referee that we have had all season,” said Old Grovians’ press officer Richard Graves, while their director of rugby Martin Whitcombe added: “Her game-management was first-class. I just wish she had refereed some of our games earlier this season.
“But it doesn’t matter whether you are being refereed by a man or a woman. You just want them to get the decisions right.”
Whitby-based Greaban, who took up the whistle as she was frustrated at some of the decisions being made when she was playing, normally officiates at Level Ten, rather than Nine, and admitted afterwards that she appreciated how better structured the match was at the higher level.
She said: “I grew up in Canada and played rugby both there and in Belgium, where I lived for 13 years, moving there for my veterinary studies.
“I have been a touch judge at the Women’s World Series Sevens in Amsterdam and am 37 - but run around like a 25-year-old!
“I just want to go as high up the ladder as I can as a referee.”