- For the first time, audiences are invited to join the world’s top match officials at a men’s Rugby World Cup, giving a unique insight into the “toughest job in sport”
- Whistleblowers follows referees, assistant referees and Television Match Officials and their families as they prepare for one of the world’s biggest sporting events
- Ground-breaking film reveals the emotional highs and lows of performing on the global stage under scrutiny from fans and teams
World Rugby has today released the official trailer for Whistleblowers, a ground-breaking film documenting the lives and experiences of the Emirates World Rugby Match Officials at the men’s Rugby World Cup 2023 in France. The film will premiere on RugbyPass TV on 1 February.
With exclusive access to the “toughest job in sport”, Whistleblowers gives viewers an unprecedented insight into the pressures and emotions of the world’s top match officials as they preside over matches on rugby’s biggest stage. From experienced campaigners to Rugby World Cup debutants, the film shines a light on the personalities behind the whistle.
Enlightening, emotional and occasionally hard hitting, the documentary follows the match officials and their families as they prepare for the biggest event in the men’s test match arena, following their seven-week Rugby World Cup journey striving for accurate and consistent decision making in a complex sport.
With in-depth interviews, access to team meetings, pre- and post-match emotion, Whistleblowers is an unmissable watch. Tackling the big stories on and off the field, the roller-coaster story covers the highs and lows of selection, physical and mental preparation, performance analysis as well as the special supportive relationship across the group, relationships with teams and the impact of online hate on officials and their families and what World Rugby is doing to combat it.
Rugby World Cup 2023 referee Jaco Peyper said: “We want to lift the lid for fans on what we are living every day, a hugely rewarding job with the best seats in the house for some of the biggest encounters in sport. Some call it the toughest job in sport, and there are huge highs and lows, but the experiences, the friendship and the places are a privilege also. Hopefully viewers will understand that we are normal human beings with families, trying to be the best we can be, and give them a better understanding of the environment that we operate in and our dedication to the sport we love.”
World Rugby Chief Executive Alan Gilpin added: “I would like to thank everyone who made this ground-breaking film happen, not least of which the match officials themselves, who are the very fabric of our sport. Without them, there would be no game, and I hope that this remarkable film reminds us all of the special role they play in the sport from the Rugby World Cup arena to the heartbeat of the game, community rugby. They are all human, they feel the highs and lows as we do, but through this compelling film we hope that a new level of respect and empathy is built towards match officials around the world.”
Whistleblowers is produced by World Rugby Studios in partnership with Noah and HBS, with Executive Producers David Snowdon, Dan Miodownik, Julien Bertin and James Rothwell. The film will launch on RugbyPass TV, the content destination for rugby fans around the world with almost 500,000 subscribers and two million users. The film, and the streaming platform, are key pillars of World Rugby’s strategy to make the sport more accessible to more people in more markets, growing the game.
James Rothwell, Chief Marketing and Content Officer at World Rugby, said: “In order for rugby to grow, reach and engage new audiences, we must make it more relevant and more accessible. This incredible film achieves just that, providing unprecedented access to the world’s top match officials and their environment. We hope that it will give fans a new perspective and empathy on these brilliant men and women, by showing the human stories, personalities, and emotional highs and lows behind the whistle. It is compelling and difficult viewing at times, and I would like to thank all the match officials and their unions for placing their trust in us to tell their story for the first time.”