A Day In The Life Of A Rugby Match Commissioner

Meet Master Vili as he is known to most of us as – at Rugby House. This unassuming yet towering of a figure is one of one of twelve (12)
09 Sep 2014 11:14
A Day In The Life Of A Rugby Match Commissioner
Matila Vocea takes a selfie with her family at the Holiday Inn in Suva.

Meet Master Vili as he is known to most of us as – at Rugby House. This unassuming yet towering of a figure is one of one of twelve (12) appointed Match Commissioners appointed by the Fiji Rugby Union.

Onto his 6th year now – Master Vili has managed well over 40 games for the FRU – with the overall task of ensuring the smooth running of a match on game day.

We caught up with him “on-the-job” last Saturday at the TFL B-Division Semi Final Number 2 at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori.

“My role as the Match Commissioner – is to ensure the smooth running of the game, to manage any changes and to ensure that the standards of rugby are upheld,” he responded when asked about his duties.

“I did an hour’s work on the farm planting watermelons (where he lives in Lomaivuna), showered then caught the special bus – with the Naitasiri supporters travelling to Nadroga for the HFC Bank Farebrother Challenge,” Master Vili said.

He said one of the requirements of his role is to be at the ground well before time.

“I reached Sawani at 8.00am then found transport to bring me to Nausori as I planned to be here before 9.00am,” he said.

“When I arrived in Nausori, I called the officials of the Town Council for access to the park and did a quick check of the facilities (change rooms, toilets, grounds, and grandstand) before sorting out all my paperwork and my final checklist of the game,” he mentioned.

In an effort to ensure ownership by the community Master Vili has also roped in Nausori Village to assist with the provision of Ball Boys and supporting officials.

“The Nausori people are the owners of this land (where the park is) and I want to get them involved as well as I have suggested to the FRU.

Perhaps an attribute to his classroom experience, Master Vili is very thorough and by the book.

“When I receive my appointment I immediately find time before game day and the farm to read through the Rules & Regulations of the Tournament.

“I have to understand the technical requirements, the list of other officials I will be working with, the requirements of the sponsors and the safety elements of the game, Master Vili explained.

He said depending on the venue and anticipated crowd he would also visit the nearest Police Station or Post to arrange additional security requirements of the venue and the game.

When asked about his style? He said that the Unions that he has worked with – like the way he manages his events and his approach to the management of the games.

“I am soft and at the same time I am strict,” Master Vili mentioned.  “Officials know that I am neutral even when it comes to Naitasiri.

“For some of the things that doesn’t really change anything in the game I just let it go and things we have principal we have to uphold – that’s when I don’t bend, I have to stick to it just like you saw today,” he said.

Master Vili was referring to a decision he had to make earlier (before this interview) where the nomination of a player had come through well after the transfer window deadline.

“I have to be decisive and at the same time I have to be able to adjust especially when it comes to making decisions,” he said.

“In addition to the Match Run sheet are the items on my check list – I am responsible for ensuring that the officials and referees are on site, the medics and the St John Team are present (if there is no medical team present I can call off the game – as I will be held responsible if we can’t manage injuries and emergencies on time), I meet with the Management of the teams that will be playing to go through the timing of the games and to stress the importance of rules and the citing procedures.

“I check the security elements (as safety is paramount), the gates and the attendants and the keepers to ensure everyone operates in a way that will see that the game is smooth running.

When not doing rugby and on the farm, Master Vili is part-time manager of the Navuakece District School and a Sunday school teacher at his local church.

Be honest and do you work diligently was Master Vili’s advise to us before we wrapped up the interview.

“It’s almost 1.30pm and I need to be on stand-by to see the arrival of the Ra Team,” Master Vili told us diplomatically to draw the interview to a close.

The Responsibilities of the Match Commissioner

(a) The Match Commissioner is regarded as the Fiji Rugby Union’s official representative at a match and this role is of paramount importance.

(b) The Match Commissioner shall have full discretion to make determinations and to issue sanctions and orders on behalf of the FRU in regard to the conduct of any match to ensure that the match is conducted within the Laws of the Game, Competition Regulations, IRB Regulations and FRU Regulations in the best interests of the game.

(c) The Match Commissioner shall be absolutely objective and his behaviour will reflect this principle.

(d) The Match Commissioner shall constantly be alert to all incidents and comments surrounding the match itself.

(e) The Match Commissioner will inspect and ensure that all match presentation and match day operations criteria are upheld and report via the forms provided.

(f) The Match Commissioner will observe and report on any matter that may require the attention of the FRU Games Committee.

(g) He will represent Fiji Rugby Union in the most professional manner at all times.

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