Match officials hold groundbreaking international conference

Representatives from the Rugby Football League (RFL), the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) and the Federation Francaise de Rugby a XIII  (FFRXIII) met over the weekend to discuss and form a joint plan to develop match officials across the Northern Hemisphere.

The meeting saw discussion about the development of a match officials pathway, including a joint and collective approach to recruitment and ideas, to ensure officials from all areas are given equal access to the performance environment.

The main focus of the meeting was the community game, and also strategies regarding the retaining of match officials, part of wider project being undertaken by the game’s governing bodies.

The workshop was facilitated by Janie Frampton, who is one of the first women to officiate professional football She is also a  former head of learning at the FA. Now a Director of Sports Officials UK, she supports the development of match officials around the U.K.

Frampton was supported by Jane Harvey, former CEO of Scotland SnowSport, who specialises in sports officials’ learning and development.

The workshop was also attended by RFL officers Julia Lee, Ben Thaler and Danny McNeice; along with Tom Mather from the RLEF and Thierry Alibert, the head of match officials at the FFRXIII.

The day was supported  by John Hickson from Rugby League Learning and academic Alan Williams from the University of Nottingham.

Tom Mather, Match Officials Manager from the RLEF said: “It’s great to see the progress that has been made and I am really excited about the opportunities here to tie together the recruitment and training process for match officials right across the board.”

RFL Programmes Director Julia Lee said: “This was an important opportunity to get like-minded people in the same room and begin to broaden the base of officials, offering the same opportunities wherever they live in the Northern Hemisphere. It is part of the 2015–2021 Match Officials strategy which looks at increasing both the number and quality.”

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