Ganson to take charge of referees

Former Super League Match Official Steve Ganson will become the RFL’s new Head of Match Officials from today (Monday, January 25).

The RFL’s Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer confirmed the new appointment.

“Following an open and extensive recruitment process, which attracted an international field of applicants, we are delighted to announce that Steve Ganson has been confirmed as the new Head of Match Officials,” said Rimmer.

“This is in addition to recent announcements of increased levels of investment into the match officials structure, which has enabled the expansion of the number of full-time match officials from seven to nine, greater levels of off-field coaching and assessment, plus the introduction of increased sports science.

“A great deal of work over recent months has also gone into the match officials pathway within the development pyramid and, following that work, Super League match official Ben Thaler will be heading up a focused recruitment campaign which is now being rolled out by the team.

“The appointment of the Head of Match Officials is an important milestone within the significant journey that the match officials structure has recently undergone. As would be expected, the position attracted interest from all over the globe.

“The process was thorough and Steve’s appointment is well deserved.

“He brings outstanding skills and huge experience to the role but, more than that, it was his ideas and enthusiasm that shone out and eventually secured the position at this very exciting time.”

Ganson has spent the last three years as match officials coach and technical director, helping oversee the introduction of two new full-time match officials and increasing the number of referees in the community game, while assisting in implementing rule changes.

He will replace Jon Sharp, who resigned as the RFL’s Match Officials Director last year and now coaches Featherstone Rovers.

Ganson, 46, made his senior debut as a referee when he took charge of a match between Barrow and Carlisle on August 27, 1995. He refereed his first Super League match the following August as Castleford Tigers took on Paris St Germain.

He also officiated in the 2008 World Cup and in a number of major domestic finals, before retiring in April 2013.

“I’m really pleased to have been appointed the RFL’s new Head of Match Officials,” said Ganson.

“I have been involved with refereeing at the highest level for 20 years and taken charge of games on the biggest world stages. I understand refereeing and the increasing demands placed on our referees.

“It’s a critical area in the sport.

“There are changes we will introduce in the way we prepare, coach, assess and appoint our referees,” he continued.

“Our coaching structure has been reviewed to assist in developing our referees and I want to accelerate the development of Championship and reserve-grade referees so we have a stronger talent pool to select from at the highest levels.

“I fully intend to give the referees the support and the framework they need. It’s the small margins at elite level that make a real difference.”