Message from the Society Chairman and RFRU Reminder to Societies.

  • September 20, 2020

Message from Roger Bowden, Chairman M&DRURS

“The RFU and the RFRU have noted that there has been a significant uptake of inter-Club Ready4Rugby activity.  Much of this activity involves Society Referees.  Referees are being advised to exercise their common sense in terms of accepting invitations to referee these matches and at how many different Clubs.  Our Society members are reminded of the advice in Return to Rugby – The Society’s Position, posted on the website on 1st September, and, in particular: ”

  • 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)
In addition, Members are advised to check for any local restrictions which apply in their area
Exercise your common sense and stay safe, please.”

The RFRU has been asked to remind Societies as to where we are on the Return to Rugby Pathway.

Rugby is at Stage D of the pathway.

This means that intra club activity can include some contact work and inter club activity is allowed as a non contact activity.  Our strong recommendation is that a referee should only be involved in intra club activity in their own club.

Some clubs are asking societies to appoint to inter club activities. This should only be done if four criteria are successfully completed

  • Only referees who want to volunteer to do games should be appointed with no pressure being placed on individuals
  • The referee is satisfied that the club have made proper provision for a Covid safe environment for the official
  • If the game is an Age Grade game, the referee is DBS checked
  • It is organised as a non-contact fixture using Ready4Rugby or other Touch formats

If a club approaches a referee on an individual basis, the referee should only accept the game at their own club and recognising the above criteria.  We hope that this clarifies the situation in these fast moving times.

Ian Woodgate

RFRU Secretary


Law changes update

We wanted to update you on the law changes announced by the Government on Wednesday 9 September in relation to the ban on groups of more than six people meeting socially indoors and outdoors. Although social gatherings of more than six people will be banned in England from Monday 14 September, the Government has confirmed that organised sports and activities that have been through return to play protocols can continue. With the exception of clubs impacted by local lockdown restrictions, we remain at Stage D on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap. The rugby community can continue to organise non-contact fixtures with other clubs usingReady4Rugby and other touch rugby activity.

Limited and restricted contact rugby training can also be continued. Detail of the permitted training activity is available in the return to contact training guidance.

Following feedback we are working to see whether guidance on numbers permitted on training areas can be increased to reflect the age of participants. Until we have secured approval for this clubs should follow current guidance of no more than 20 players per half pitch in training.

RFU guidance as well as Government Coronavirus (Covid-19) Guidelinesmust be followed.

We have worked closely with the Government to gain approval to return to rugby activity and the recent progression to Stage D has been well received with lots of positive impact being reported by clubs. We will continue to have close dialogue with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport to progress community rugby activity to the next stage on the roadmap and we will keep you advised of any updates.



Managing visitors

Supporters, parents, and other spectators need to remain socially distanced whilst attending events. From Monday, spectator groups must be restricted to discrete six person gathering limits and spread out, in line with Government Guidelines, which you can read below.

Where it is anticipated that an activity will attract spectators, this includes parents, carers, partners etc, there should be a named person or persons with responsibility for ensuring adherence with these guidelines and ensuring the facility is Covid-19 secure. The person should carry out and publish a risk assessment for the activity which limits the number of spectators and focuses on the need to maintain social distancing on arrival, for the duration of the activity, and on departure.

Arrangements should also be put in place to support test and trace efforts by collecting information from spectators which is detailed enough to allow NHS Test and Trace to contact them if necessary. See the maintaining records guidance below for further information.

Ahead of the new rules around social gatherings being introduced next week you may wish to consider:

• Re-visiting your risk assessment to make sure you have double checked everything.
• Check your schedule to allow for a steady through flow of players and spectators.
• Keep reminding spectators to observe social distancing off the pitch.
• Following good practice to collect visitor details for track and trace.
• Consider if you can you do anything to ensure social distancing is observed e.g. making announcements, signposting or introducing time slot.

Government Guidelines

Maintaining Records

Clubhouses and hospitality

Groups in clubhouses and hospitality facilities must be restricted to six person gathering limits and spread out, in line with wider government guidance.

High ventilation in indoor facilities is paramount to reducing transmission of Covid-19; keep the facilities well ventilated, for example by fixing doors open and opening windows where appropriate.

If facilities remain closed, exceptions must be made for essential activity such as provision of first-aid or access to essential equipment for the match.

From Monday 14 September, you should let customers know that by law they can only visit in groups of up to six people (unless they are visiting as a household or support bubble which is larger than six). You can read these guidelines below. Until Monday 14 September, the current guidelines for keeping customers and staff safe apply.

The Government has updated the indoor guidance to minimise the risk of transmission and protect the health of customers and visitors to venues. This guidance applies to any food preparation or service setting where food and drink is sold for consumption at venues or for takeaway or delivery.

Here are seven steps to protect yourself, your staff and your customers during coronavirus (Covid-19):

1. Complete a Covid-19 risk assessment. Share it with all your staff. Find out how to do a risk assessment.
2. Clean more often. Increase how often you clean surfaces, especially those that are being touched a lot. Ask your staff and your customers to use hand sanitiser and wash their hands frequently.
3. Ask your customers to wear face coverings where required to do so by law. That is especially important if your customers are likely to be around people they do not normally meet. Some exemptions apply. Check when to wear one, exemptions, and how to make your own.
4. Make sure everyone is social distancing. Make it easy for everyone to do so by putting up signs or introducing a one way system that your customers can follow. Enable people in the same party who do not live together to remain a safe distance apart.
5. Increase ventilation by keeping doors and windows open where possible and running ventilation systems at all times.
6. Take part in NHS Test and Trace by keeping a record of all your customers for 21 days. From 18 September, this will be enforced in law. Some exemptions apply. You can read more about Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace.
7. Turn people with coronavirus symptoms away. If a staff member (or someone in their household) or a customer has a persistent cough, a high temperature or has lost their sense of taste or smell, they should be isolating.

Government Guidance

Risk Assessment

Local lockdown restrictions

Clubs are reminded that the powers around local restrictions lie with their local authorities. We are advised that unless local restrictions specifically mention restrictions on team sports and/or rugby, clubs should follow the NGB guidelines. Clubs may need to limit their activities in line with any local restrictions and all are advised to consult with the local authority in which their facilities are located should they be in any doubt. Information regarding any new local lockdown restrictions will be posted on the Government website below. We will provide an update to the game if there is any change in guidance to playing rugby union. You can read more information on the Government local lockdown updates below.

Local Lockdown