Referee Hicks takes key RFL role

Robert Hicks has been appointed to a major RFL post, meaning his video-refereeing role at the France versus England double-header in Perpignan on Saturday was his last as a full-time match official.

The 40-year-old from Oldham will be the governing body’s Director of Operations and Legal while continuing as a part-time referee with a focus on supporting young officials.

Hicks became a full-time referee in 2011, when he also joined the RFL legal team. He has been in the middle for two Grand Finals and two Challenge Cup finals.

Hicks said: “I’ve loved being part of the full-time officials’ squad, as much for the team spirit and togetherness as for the big matches I’ve been involved in.

“But this is the right time and reason for me to revert to a part-time and mentoring role, allowing me to devote most of my time to operations and legal.

“It’s a wide-ranging role covering all areas of regulation, from the community game to the Super League.

“They are clearly key areas for the national governing body and I’m looking forward to working closely with (RFL chief regulatory officer) Karen Moorhouse and other members of the RFL board and executive board as we all strive for the best for Rugby League.

“I’m grateful to be able to continue as a match official on a part-time basis, whether that’s as a touch judge, referee or doing some coaching and development work.

“I spent five seasons on the Grade 1 list from 2006-10 before joining the full-time squad, and the sport is lucky to have so many excellent officials at that level.

“One of my main priorities in the new role will be a fresh focus on the RFL’s Enjoy the Game and Respect campaigns – it’s so important that all of us in the sport support our officials in this regard.”

RFL head of match officials Steve Ganson said: “In thanking and congratulating Robert for his contribution as a full-time official for the last decade, I’m also delighted that his knowledge and experience will still be available to us, both as a referee and touch judge, and as a mentor to younger officials.

“He has been a key figure in our full-time group and is liked and respected by match officials at all levels for his love of the sport and his commitment to it.”

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