Return to Rugby – Society’s Interim Position

  • December 3, 2020

As Society members will be aware, the RFU has announced that the Government has approved a submission by the RFU to return to 15-a-side contact rugby using an adapted version of the Laws of the game.  Details of the adapted version of the Game are available on the RFU  website.  The approval from the Government applies to all Tiers within the Covid-19 rules, including Tiers 2 and 3, which between them cover the Society’s area.  Fixtures under the adapted version of the Game can be played from 18th December 2020.

The Society has had little time to prepare for the consequences of this announcement but work is being undertaken to provide the following for our members and member Clubs:

  • A clear understanding of the adapted version of the Laws of the Game
  • Guidance on the refereeing of the adapted version of the Game
  • Guidance on match day protocols
  • Sources of information and training materials
  • Arrangements for registering availability for appointments

All of the above will be provided as soon as we are able, but must necessarily take some time and will be dependent on information and guidance from external sources.  For example, guidance is expected on the issue of travel, both within and between Tier areas, and with regard to a match day protocol to be observed by Clubs, players and Referees.

The Society Executive has considered when Referee appointments should resume.  Although every effort is being made to put in place the arrangements which are necessary for a resumption of activity, the conclusion is that Referee appointments should resume when the RFU Clusters fixtures begin.  That is thought, currently, to be 16th January 2021.  The aim is that all of the arrangements which need to be made will be in place in time for that.

In the mean time, the Society’s position remains as set out on 1st September, 2020, namely:

  • Clubs can invite Society Referees to referee intra-Club or inter-Club matches
  • The match or session must be organised strictly in accordance with RFU guidance and in compliance with any local restrictions which apply in the area*
  • The Club must satisfy the Referee as to the safety arrangements and other precautions which will apply, and must ensure that these arrangements and precautions are observed*
  • The Referee understands that it is his/her personal responsibility to satisfy him/herself as above and that it is entirely his/her decision as to whether to accept the invitation (In the case of a Young Match Official it will be the responsibility of a parent or guardian)

*Clubs are asked to pay particular attention to these requirements, please.

The Society Executive recognises that Referees and Match Observers may have medical, family or other reasons for not resuming officiating; or may have more general reservations about it.  It is perfectly understandable that people might have these reservations

If you, as an individual, have reservations about resuming officiating, the Society’s advice is that you should not make yourself available for appointment until you are sufficiently confident to make yourself available.  Your decision will be respected by the Society.

Once Society appointments are resumed, the following will continue to apply until the Society Executive indicates otherwise:

  • The match or session must be organised strictly in accordance with RFU guidance and in compliance with any local restrictions which apply in the area*
  • The Club must satisfy the Referee as to the safety arrangements and other precautions which will apply, and must ensure that these arrangements and precautions are observed*
  • The Referee understands that it is his/her personal responsibility to satisfy him/herself as above and that it is entirely his/her decision as to whether to accept the invitation (In the case of a Young Match Official it will be the responsibility of a parent or guardian)

*Clubs are, again, asked to pay particular attention to these requirements, please.

The Society Executive has concluded that the Society should not enter in to any debate or discussion concerning the principles or practices of the resumption of rugby.  The Society does not have access to expertise in these matters and has, in any event, made it clear that participation or otherwise is a matter entirely for the individual.

However, as members may have questions of general interest it has been arranged that madrefs.info@gmail.com will be monitored for such questions and we will endeavour to answer them or seek answers for them.

Finally, as approval has been given for the resumption of Age Grade rugby, members are reminded that they can only officiate at such matches if they have a current RFU DBS check and they have undergone the relevant course, details of which can be found on the RFU Safeguarding page.

 

Roger Bowden, Chairman, M&DRURS