Nigel Owens is the rare official who, at any given match, could have more renown than some of the players on the field. Andrew Keh of The New York Times reports.

Nigel Owens was walking in Suva, Fiji, earlier this summer, when he heard an all-too-familiar refrain.

"This is not soccer!" a stranger called out to him on the street.

Owens could only laugh. He had first uttered those words himself while refereeing a rugby match seven years ago, and they have been trailing him ever since.

Advertisement

Delivered at the time as a reprimand to a petulant player, the phrase

Advertisement