Rugby League is celebrating a significant increase in match official recruitment ahead of the 2021 season – helped by the successful introduction of online recruitment courses in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
So far three online courses in Lancashire and Yorkshire have led to the recruitment of more than 70 new officials – and advance bookings for forthcoming courses covering the Midlands, the South and the North East next week, followed by Cumbria later in March, have guaranteed that total will rise to well above 150.
That is more than twice as many new officials for 2021 compared to the figure for 2020, before lockdown – when courses were classroom based.
Liam Moore, the RFL’s Match Officials Recruitment and Development Manager, said: “Covid has forced so many changes on Rugby League, as with other sports – but this might be an example of it working in our favour.
“Clearly it hasn’t been possible to get people together at a venue to run our recruitment courses, as previously. But the response to online recruitment courses has been really positive – both in terms of the numbers who have booked to attend, and the way the courses have gone.
“It’s going to be such a boost to the sport to have more match officials available as we look to a brighter future, especially with the impact of the World Cup later this year.”
The success of the online recruitment courses follows the launch earlier this year of the Lead the Game initiative – aiming to get Armed Forces veterans involved in match officiating in all forms of Rugby League, from scoring in Wheelchair Rugby League to refereeing in Touch.
And refereeing recruitment received a further major boost recently with the announcement of funding from the CreatedBy capital grants programme for four Rugby League Referees Societies, again ahead of this year’s World Cups.
It’s not too late to book a place on an online course.
Wednesday 17th March 2021- hosted by Midlands, North East and the South - Contact: Michael.firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 30th March 2021- hosted by Barrow and Cumbria - Contact email@example.com
For more details - https://www.rugby-league.com/get_involved/match_officials/become_a_match_official