RLEF forms elite match officials squad

Referees from four nations are included in a new elite match officials squad, set up by the Rugby League European Federation.

Former Super League whistler Thierry Alibert, now head of French match officials, is part of the 12-strong team that will lead on all match official education and tutoring throughout the RLEF as well as appointing referees for official RLEF matches.

The group met in Leeds over the weekend to plan its activities for the next two years.

RLEF match officials manager Tom Mather said: “The seminar was a fantastic weekend and gave nine officials from across the federation the chance to meet and discuss education and development.

“The focus is on strategies to improve knowledge and develop refereeing skills in order to provide an international pathway for all match officials within the federation.”

All European Championship B and C games at the end of this year will be officiated by members of the squad.

One of the key tasks will be to roll out the 18-month EU Leadership Devolution Project which is the biggest investment the sport has made into technical development. In an historic move for rugby league, continental tutors will train other European tutor candidates in the field, with the first such course scheduled for the Czech Republic in two weeks time.

The intention is that at least one more continental referee will join the squad this year, with Mather hopeful that half the squad will be drawn from the across the region within four years.

RLEF Match Officials Squad: Dave Butler, Craig Kay, Danny McNeice, Tom Mather, Phil Smith, Paul Stockman (England), Thierry Alibert (France), Radoslav Novakovic (Serbia), Denys Cherniev (Ukraine).

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