Match officials from nine countries to officiate European U19s Championship

RLEF Education has confirmed the 12-man match official squad for the U19s European Championship 2018, to be held in Belgrade, Serbia, this August.

Referees from nine countries will take part, representing the broadest range of nationalities ever to officiate at an official rugby league tournament, beating the previous record of five nations, at the 2015 Pacific Games in PNG.

“This has been made possible by the investment made over recent years in a comprehensive education programme to produce match officials on the continent,” said RLEF match official chef de mission Phil Smith.

“We’re already targeting representation of RLEF-produced officials for the 2021 World Cup, and these championships will be a great development step towards achieving that aim.”

Smith will be supported by RL Ireland head match official Steve Hogan, whilst the Serbian RL Federation’s Radoslav Novakovic, representing the tenth nation involved in the tournament panel, will be the tournament match officials manager. The squad covers every language spoken in the tournament, including two fluent Russian speakers.

Mohamed Drizza, head of the French federation’s Comite Centrale des Arbtires, will also attend, with the competition coming two weeks after a strategic match officials summit in Le Barcares for leading French match official educators.

U19 European Championship 2018 match official squad

Jaroslav Bzoch (Czech Republic); Craig Smith and Cameron Worsley (England); Mohamed Drizza and Benjamin Casty (France); James Spencer (Ireland); Guido Bonatti (Italy); Robin Hachache (Lebanon); Bartlomiej Sierota (Poland); Antonio Palacios and Andrew Pilkington (Spain); Oleksandr Ivchenko (Ukraine).