Massive increase in Match Official numbers
The RFL is delighted to announce a huge increase in the number of qualified Rugby League Match Officials.
One of the key objectives in the current Whole Sport Plan is to increase the amount of Match Officials in the sport from 753 to 1203 and the latest official figures show the current total is 1172 all of whom are connected to societies.
The current figure is just 31 short of the target with a few months left to register another success for the current community strategy.
Much of this growth is due to recent RFL initiatives such as the introduction of the Referees Short Course which is a quick way for former players to qualify as Match Officials.
RFL Director of Participation, David Gent said: “This is a massive boost for the sport as without Match Officials there would be no games played.
“We’re delighted with the increase and I believe much of this success is down to the attraction of officiating in better conditions in the summer as well as new innovations such as the Referees Short Course.
“The Short Course offers a great opportunity for all current and former players who want to try something different with the flexibility to fit around them and is proving to be a real success story in terms of keeping participants involved in the sport.
“We will continue to work with our partners in the community game and continue to innovate to ensure that the total number of Match Officials in our sport keeps increasing.”
The Referees Short Course is based around a professional discussion and use of appropriate video clips. With no power point and only a couple of hours training over an evening former players can be running out as a referee within days.
One former player who has taken the Referees Short Course and is now a fully-fledged Match Official is Paul McKenzie who used to play for Westfield in the Cumberland League.
Paul McKenzie said: “My son started playing Rugby League and I refereed a few games of mini-mod. I decided I wanted to get involved refereeing and spoke to Peter Wharton, Match Officials Development Officer in Cumbria who told me about the Referees Short Course.
“The course only took a day then an assessment afterwards and my playing experience really helped me. You’re learning all the time and especially learning after the course but having played Rugby League this gave me the basics to get started.
“Now I’m refereeing open age games as often as possible and really enjoying it, it keeps me involved in Rugby League and gives me something to keep fit for.”
For more details on becoming a Match Official visit: www.therfl.co.uk/referee