08 Oct 2020
WP referees used their lockdown fitness programme to partner with the Kolisi Foundation to help colleagues negatively affected by Covid-19.
For many amateur match officials, the stipends received for refereeing are an important part of their household income. Thanks to the pandemic and interruption to rugby, this has stopped, leaving many referees and their families in dire straits.
Club referees Cornelius Peterson and Elias Jacobs used their cycling group to raise awareness of the plight of their colleagues and approached the Kolisi Foundation and their #Each1Feed1 campaign for assistance.
‘Referees plays such a critical role in the game and are often undervalued’ says Stormers and Springbok captain Siya Kolisi. ‘Like players, they are under much pressure on the field. They rarely get the acknowledgement they deserve for the hard work and good calls they make. At the end of the day, they deserve much more praise for their dedication to the game. I am so pleased that we were able to support this initiative and help match officials during this stressful period.’
The #Each1Feed1 campaign is aimed at alleviating hunger during the outbreak of Covid-19 in South Africa. The support extends for a minimum of three months while breadwinners try to get back on their feet.
Referees on the international stage are highly paid professionals. Yet rugby at grassroots needs the services of thousands of match officials every weekend to ensure games can be played. Without a qualified referee, the game can’t happen.
‘Refereeing is a form of community service,’ said WP Rugby Referees’ Chairperson Joey Klaaste-Salmans. ‘Starting an initiative like this to assist colleagues during hard times is the ultimate form of community service. I am extremely proud to lead an organisation that includes Cornelius and his team among the membership.’
Donors who are keen to help with this campaign should email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website www.kolisifoundation.org. It only takes R600 to support a family of six people with a food parcel for a month.