A: How to get involved in officiating

Why referee?

There are a whole host of reasons why you might take up the whistle: to remain active in the sport following injury or retirement, to make new and lasting friends within the game, or to gain a sense of achievement by providing an invaluable service to players, coaches and spectators alike.

Whatever the reason, refereeing is challenging, rewarding and above all, can be great fun.

It’s easy to become a referee and start refereeing!

The first step is to attend one of the two courses listed below, and you’re on your way. The minimum age to become a rugby union referee is 14.

If you wish to start refereeing U8 to U12…
You need to attend a course called; Level 1 – Refereeing Children. This course is designed to provide new referees with the core skills to be able to referee rugby union safely and confidently. It takes 3 hours and is a mixture of practical and classroom based activities.

If you wish to start refereeing U13 and above…
You need to attend a course called; Level 2 – Refereeing the 15-a-side game. This course is for new and developing referees wanting to referee the 15-a-side game and will equip delegates with the skills and confidence to do so effectively. It takes 12 hours and is a mixture of practical and classroom based activities.

Young Match Official Programme

England Rugby has launched a Young Match official (YMO) programme to encourage more young people aged 14-24 to get into rugby officiating. The programme’s ambition for 2016-17 is to attract, train and retain 400 new young officiators to the game as part of England Rugby’s long term legacy commitment. Click HERE for a guide to developing Young Match Officials.

What next?

If you need further advice on how to start refereeing or choosing an appropriate course, please contact a member of the RFU Match Official Development and Area Training Team (PDF 204kB).

However if you are ready to get going, go to the RFU online course booking system, which allows you to search by course type, region, postcode or date before booking and paying for your course.

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