National Match Official Conference hailed as a success

Rugby league match officials held the first-ever National Match Official Conference in Huddersfield on Saturday.

The event was hailed as a success, with 200 referees and touch-judges from the professional, semi-professional and community games attending.

Howard Webb, the former Premier League football referee who is now Technical Director of Professional Game Match Officials, spoke at the event.

Webb, who refereed the 2010 football World Cup final, told the conference that rugby league match officials were held in high regard by officials in other sports, due to their high standards.

RFL Match Officials Coaching and Technical Coordinator Jon Sharp said: “It’s important that we recognise the contribution that match officials at all levels make to rugby league.

“The conference allowed everyone to learn from their peers and feel part of the exciting new era of the sport.”

The day also featured a number of seminars and workshops led by the game’s most senior match officials.

All active match officials were invited to the event, which was intended to help them face the challenges of officiating in rugby league. They also had the opportunity to network with colleagues.

RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer added: “Our match officials play an important and valued role and are a vital part of rugby league’s DNA.

“From the whole-hearted way they engaged at the conference it is clear that they are very passionate about the sport.

“We continue to invest significantly in the match officials department and have developed clear career pathways that are both fulfilling and rewarding for aspirational referees and touch-judges at every level of the sport.

“The feedback from a hugely successful conference will enable us to better meet our objectives by raising the profile of our match officials to enhance recruitment, retention and development.”

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