The RFL has confirmed that it is making a significant investment in its Match Officials department that will allow the sport’s referees and touch-judges to perform at their best in the exciting new league structures which come into place from 2015.
The investment will include a comprehensive recruitment drive across all levels of the game and the implementation of development structures and pathways designed to enhance the performance of current match officials.
The recruitment drive will see an extension of the ‘cadet’ programme, which was introduced in 2014 and designed to create a pool of officials capable of operating in the First Utility Super League and Kingstone Press Championship to complement the existing full-time referees.
RFL Chief Operating Officer Ralph Rimmer said: “The sport is about to enter an important stage in its history where every minute of every match will matter and the match officials have an important role to play in ensuring the new structure is a success.
“This investment will increase both the quantity and quality of referees, touch-judges and other match officials at every level of Rugby League and will, I’m sure be widely welcomed.”
The RFL is continuing to appraise the benefits and issues surrounding the adoption of a two-referee system in Super League fixtures, but has ruled out the move before 2016.
The two-referee model was trialled in a number of Academy fixtures earlier this season and the feedback from that experiment, together with all implications for Super League and the wider sport, are still being assessed. Further trials will take place in 2015 when a full report on the system, including associated costs, will be presented to the RFL Board for consideration.
Ralph Rimmer said: “The two-referee system clearly has its merits but there is still some work to do, including trials in Super League fixtures next season.
“With so many other changes taking place next season, the Board believe that it would not be appropriate to operate a two-referee system in 2015 but we remain committed to exploring the option for 2016.”