International Rugby League match officials begin a new era

Published by IntRL
08 Oct 2021

The 2022 international rugby league window has, for the first time, match officials appointed centrally and drawn from the panels created specifically to support the games.

Stuart Cummings, International Rugby League (IRL) match officials’ manager has created three panels, the Elite Match Officials Panel (EMOP), the International Match Officials Panel (IMOP) and the Emerging Match Officials Squad (EMOS). These groups have been selected after nominations from the membership and they are supported, mentored and assessed throughout the process to further develop their careers and create a growing and developing pool of officials to cover international matches. The panels will cover men’s and women’s games.

Speaking ahead of the first games, Stuart Cummings is looking forward to the first appointments saying, “It’s an exciting time for the match officials too. Due to the pandemic, we have waited a long time to make some appointments. We selected the panels and with the support of colleagues around the world we have the most diverse group of officials ever assembled in our sport.

“The programme is designed to identify and develop a constant supply of match officials to ensure that every international match at every level is controlled by a suitable qualified official.

The international programme which takes place in October and November this year will see officials from the panels receiving their appointments. These will also be multi-national with referees from several European countries taking charge of games across the continent.

Cummings continued, “Ben Casty is the only member of the Elite Panel who will be officiating this time around. We would have liked to appoint a neutral official to the England v France game but travel restrictions have hampered that. However, Ben is certainly ready to take on this game. He is a good referee with lots of experience and, as a former player, he has respect and knows the game inside out.” 

“Elsewhere we have Andrew Pilkington, based in Spain who will take charge on the England v France women’s game and other officials from France and Spain plus Ireland, Wales, England, Czechia and Greece all out in the field.”