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A sad refereeing tale

8.11.2005 Wasted journey to Tbilissi (rugby365.com)

Tomáš Tůma of the Czech Republic was appointed - late - to referee the Intercontinental match between Georgia and Uruguay in Tbilissi. He tells his story.

I have just came back to office straight from my worst refereeing trip ever.

With late appointment which arrived on Wednesday at 4:30pm, and hard negotiation with FIRA for flight tickets for touch judges, we departed to Tbilissi on Friday evening via Vienna.

We had to spent three hours waiting in Vienna and we departed from Vienna at 10:15pm. The flight to Tbilissi was okay, and we landed at 4:30am (GEO time).

The good thing is that the Georgian authorities had cancelled visa requirements for Czechs, and so we did not need to pay US$80 each. That was the best thing of the weekend.

When we left the departure hall we were expecting to be met by Vasil (he is former national team player, aged about 30). I was glad to see him and asked him if he was going play on Sunday.

The answer was shock: "I have a bad news for you. The game is probably cancelled as Uruguay have not arrived. They should have landed two hours before you from Istanbul."

I was ready to change our tickets and take the same plane back, but there was a small possibility that they would arrive on Saturday. So I decided to go to hotel and wait util Saturday noon. I wondered what to do in Tbilissi for two days!

So we went to the hotel which was close to the centre but in a very dark area and the street looked like a field pathway. I was in Georgia for the fourth time and so it was not surprise to me, but the touch judges looked shocked.

At 1pm Vasil picked us and we went to Georgian RFU office to check what was new. They said that Uruguayans were in Madrid and JM Epalza was trying to organise some transport. That was not very clear to me, but we went downtown for a walk.

An hour later they called that the game was cancelled/postponed (cancelled for me for sure). So I tried to change our flight tickets for a Sunday flight, but all seats were sold, and so we had to stay there.

Fortunately there was Wales-New Zealand game and so we went to watch it and then we went for some drinks. We went off to bed at about 2am. Vasil had left us at midnight as he had spent three nights at the airport waiting for the Uruguay team. So we took a taxi back to hotel which was very good experience.

On Sunday we slept till 2pm and when we should have been kicking off the game we kicked ourselves out of bed.

We decided to walk on our own and left Vasil to relax. We went to an Irish pub which I knew from my last visit. We had some beers and a meal. We played cards and wasted time. Then we had a short sleep from 10:30pm till 2:30am and left for the airport at 3am.

We took off at 5am, changed at Munich and landed in Prague at 8:30am local time.

I am now trying to get my routine back in order but I don't know which end is up!

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