The Board of International Rugby League (IRL) has approved the creation of its first global match officials structure which will manage match officials for all future international matches.
The system, which will include 48 officials drawn from the IRL membership around the world, will operate squads at three levels – elite (eight officials), international (16) and development (24)- and will have a clear pathway for all officials to follow.
Appointments will be graded to ensure that the most suitable official is in charge of the appropriate game whilst creating and supporting development opportunities for all current and future referees in an increasingly global international rugby league calendar.
IRL Match Official Manager, Stuart Cummings welcomes the panel saying;
“This is a really important step change for the international game. The number of full international matches is increasing and as a result there are more opportunities for match officials. Quite rightly, the top officials in our game will be recognised as part of our Elite International Squad but this new structure, with two other squads below the Elite, ensures that there is a clear and open pathway for any official to aim for the top games in Rugby League.”
The Board also approved its first fees structure for match officials which will apply for all future international matches.
In addition, the Board approved the creation of a Laws Advisory Panel which will be in charge of aligning all the variations currently used around the world and also in ensuring a clear process for the testing and adoption of all proposed variations to the laws of the game. While the Board supported a multilateral approach, national leagues are not prevented from making their own local amendments. Two of the eight-strong LAP will be current or former women athletes.
IRL Chief Executive Officer Nigel Wood is keen to see the LAP in action, saying;
“The creation of the Laws Commission is a major step forward in the stewardship of the laws of the game which is one of the fundamental roles of an international federation. It is really pleasing that we are working towards our strategic objective to have one set of laws for rugby league.”