Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer has insisted that the decision for leading referee James Child to officiate in the Championship this weekend is not a punishment or demotion following his officiating of the highly-charged game between Catalans and Warrington last weekend.
Child issued six cards – four yellow and two red – during the Dragons’ 30-10 win on Saturday, including three after the full-time hooter had sounded following an almighty 26-man brawl. Sam Tomkins and Michael McIlorum were given straight red cards.
However, Child will officiate in the second-tier this weekend, taking charge of Toulouse’s trip to Widnes – with some immediately suggesting that he had been punished, or even demoted, following his involvement in the game.
But Rimmer told TotalRL that is simply not the case.
“James is not being punished, not whatsoever,” he said.
“James was involved in what was a very tough game to officiate. But like every game he and the rest of our Grade 1 match officials take charge of, he then comes under a review. It’s a thorough process but that’s not to say he’s being punished for what happened on Saturday.
“Sometimes, quite often, in fact, we move match officials into different environments and different competitions – and there are a myriad of different reasons for that. It was an incredibly tough game to take charge of but James is regarded as a top-class referee – and that hasn’t changed.”
One former referee told TotalRL that Child could have done no more in terms of his own actions, and it would have been an impossible situation for most officials to keep a lid on.