Mon 04 Oct 2021 14:25

Letter received from:-

Terry Burwell
Chair HRR

Match Official Recruitment

Dear Rugby Colleague

I hope the first month of return to rugby has gone well and your members, playing and non-playing are enjoying the opportunity to re-engage with their friends once again. This has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us, and yet our Clubs have displayed a resilience and community spirit that has been inspirational.

I appreciate that there are a number of challenges for our Clubs, not least the return of the playing base, the support of volunteers and the management of Club resources and finance.

However, I am writing today to ask your urgent assistance in recruiting and retaining our match official base. Throughout the country Referee Societies are struggling to ensure a competent match official is appointed to every match and Hampshire Rugby Referees (HRR) is no exception. During September, we have only been able to meet our service commitment to the game because matches have been cancelled by one or other of the Clubs involved. In addition, finding match officials with the necessary DBS checks for Schools and Youth (Boys and Girls) matches is also problematic.

HRR Rules are clear that it is a request for clubs to provide at least one match official that is able to support the adult game, it is now more than ever it is important that clubs play their part in supplying match officials. The growth of the Women’s and Girls game is a terrific opportunity for us to recruit female referees and we are committed to ensuring we have a more inclusive and diverse membership.

So how can you help directly?

The RFU is running 2 Referee courses next month at Oasis Academy on 23rd October and at Lord Wandsworth College on 31st October and places are available that will be fully funded by HRFU and HRR.
We are asking Clubs to identify possible candidates and enrol them on the course ASAP.
Clubs with strong Ladies and Girls sections are encouraged to identify potential female referees, especially as we now have the example of Sara Cox refereeing a Gallagher Premiership match.
Other Clubs are asked to prioritise candidates that can either support HRR appointments or upskill Youth coaches to match official competence.
Clubs to encourage age grade teams to have a coach or parent to assist with officiating with a view of developing further once current team get to 15 a side laws and regulations.
Ensure that Match Officials are supported, welcomed and valued by all sections of your Club in line with core values of Rugby Union

What will HRR and HRFU do to help?

Fully fund the costs of Course attendance for nominated match officials.
Provide HRR branded shirts to those who qualify on the course and additional kit once a referee has been appointed to 5 matches by HRR.
Reduce the charges to Clubs for match appointments to Lower team/Ladies/Youth matches once a newly qualified referee has been appointed to 10 matches by HRR.
Provide a mentor/buddy from our Match Official pool to support newly qualified match officials.
HRR will attend the Referee courses to set out the potential commitment, which will not necessarily be weekly but will be based on individual’s availability each month.
Monthly training evenings that focus on helping referees provide a better game for all

My colleagues and I at HRR and HRFU are fully committed to ensuring players, coaches and supporters enjoy a positive match experience that will encourage their long-term participation in our sport.

Please help us find and support the next cohort of match officials, we are currently 11 short this weekend alone, you can make a difference and help ensure more matches are played by more people, more often.

If you would like to discuss how you can help or enrol for one of the courses, there are other courses in neighbouring Counties as well, then please contact either myself or one of my colleagues below.

Yours in Rugby

Terry Burwell
Chair, Hampshire Rugby Referees

Dean Crossley
Development Officer, HRR

Tim Bailey
Secretary, HRR

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