Society Position Statement on Return to Rugby Roadmap (V1 – 05/03/21)

  • March 26, 2021

As Society members will be aware, the RFU released a revised Return to Rugby Roadmap for the community game. It envisages Ready4Rugby matches taking place from 29th March and adult and age grade matches starting from 26th April with adapted laws (no scrums and no mauls).

The RFU has provided numerous resources for clubs and officials that support the phased return. The Society has also published materials that complement the RFU resources.

The Society Executive has decided that it will not appoint to Ready4Rugby matches but will try to appoint to matches played under the adapted laws from 26th April.

In the meantime, the Society’s position is as follows:
• Clubs can invite Society Referees to referee Ready4Rugby intra-Club or inter-Club matches or events
• The matches or events must be organised strictly in accordance with RFU guidance and in compliance with any government Covid-19 regulations*
• The Club must satisfy the Referee as to the safety arrangements and other precautions that 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 Referee Assessors/Coaches 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, then the Society’s advice is that you should not accept a club’s invitation to officiate, nor make yourself available for appointment, until you are sufficiently confident to do so. 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 event (e.g. tournament) must be organised strictly in accordance with RFU guidance and in compliance with any government Covid-19 restrictions*
• The Club must satisfy the Referee as to the safety arrangements and other precautions that 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 referee the match (In the case of a Young Match Official it will be the responsibility of a parent or guardian); the Society will support any referee who decides not to referee a match due to safety concerns

*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 from 26th April, 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