World Cup 2023. Ben O’Keefe controversy: ‘Don’t get too close to the football’ warns Gatland

World Cup 2023. Ben O’Keefe controversy: ‘Don’t get too close to the football’ warns Gatland

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The biggest debate surrounding the 2023 Rugby World Cup continues. The referee was criticized after his decisions during the quarter-final match between France and South Africa (28-29). Ben O’Keefe However he was appointed before World Rugby During the semi-finals of springboks At the Stade de France. His arrival at the stadium was marked by huge boos from the audience.

In a column published in TelegraphNew Zealander warren Gatland, The Wales coach deeply regrets this “strange” appointment and criticizes the International Federation. The technician particularly denounces this entire episode and warns.

Warren Gatland defends arbitration

“Throwing referee Ben O’Keeffe into the Parisian bonfires was a funny date,” attacks Warren Gatland, who does not understand why World Rugby chose Ben O’Keeffe to referee the match. Semi-finals between England And South Africa (15-16), last weekend.

The Welsh coach then launched a long appeal in favor of arbitration:

If there’s one thing to take away from this World Cup, it’s that referees are human. They are honest guys, they love the game and want to make the right decisions.

Warren GatlandWales coach

“I felt sorry for Ben O’Keefe.”

“Without the referees there is no match. It’s that easy. Their task is very difficult, as more things are being asked of them, with the increasing influence of technology, media and social networks. “It often puts them in an almost impossible situation,” continues Gatland, who then returns to the semi-final episode.

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“I felt bad for Ben O’Keeffe on Saturday night. It was difficult to see him being booed at the Stade de France even before kick-off. Ben is a good man, and I have no doubt that he was affected by this. », breathes the 60-year-old coach.

“We don’t want to get any closer to football, where every controversial decision is challenged and becomes a post-match story,” concluded Warren Gatland.

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