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Rugby Is A Game For All...

Rugby is, and always has been, a game for all; regardless of shape, size, race, gender etc etc etc...

It is therefore always sad to hear about discrimination of any sort in our game.

It would appear that descrimination can also also extend to refereeing.

As I'm sure you will have seem in the media the RFU has received a complaint about discrimination in refereeing and they have put out a statement which is included below...

RFU Statement
The RFU is reviewing its assessment and selection criteria for referees following a complaint regarding potential barriers to progression and feedback provided to match officials based on body size, weight or shape. This led the RFU to commission an external investigation. The initial complaint was raised by former referee, George Richardson, and through the course of the investigation nine other referees were interviewed and raised similar concerns. The investigation found while there is no formal policy regarding referees’ weight, size or shape it has nonetheless been part of the criteria for assessment, regardless of whether fitness (Bronco) assessments were passed. The report also identified these criteria as being recognised at the highest levels of officiating and that this appears to have had a trickle-down effect. The RFU acknowledges this is unacceptable and is committed to addressing these practices to ensure physical appearance will not form part of selection criteria in future and apologises for the negative impact this has had on the referees concerned. Central to the RFU’s inclusion and diversity plan is the aim to create an inclusive environment that encourages people from all backgrounds to take up officiating at every level. The independent report recommended that the RFU: · Assesses its written guidelines to ensure they provide clarity as to the criteria being assessed. · Issues a code of conduct document to clarify to match official developers the expected practices concerning body weight, size and shape. · Ensures its practices and policies for match officials’ promotion and development are sufficiently clear and transparent. · Communicates the reporting mechanisms for anyone who wishes to raise concerns about feedback around body weight, size or shape. The RFU is committed to actioning the recommendations and it will implement new codes of conduct and training for all referee selectors and developers. This work has already started and will be concluded before the end of the year to then be reviewed on an annual basis. George Richardson said: “My primary motivation for raising the complaint was to ensure there is cultural change around this issue and to ensure that in the future assessments are based on ability to do the job, not physical attributes. I wanted to make sure that learning has taken place across the RFU refereeing pathway, so that the best referees within the country can get to the top and rugby really can be “the all-inclusive game”. “I am pleased the RFU has taken this matter seriously and look forward to seeing the recommendations implemented for the next generation of referees to benefit and progress.” The RFU encourages all match officials, current and former who wish to contact the RFU in relation to this matter, to email via

If you have any issues around discrimination please do not sit back and think it does not matter.

The Society is awaiting further news from the RFU, but in the meantime will continue to apply the same principles reviewed during the summer. Body shape, Gender, Race and Age, have and will continue be irreverent to progression/grading within the East Midlands Rugby Union Referees' Society.

The Society will aspire to P A C T which is best described in the document below

Should you have concerns about any of the foregoing they should be address to John Wearing. If you feel uncomfortable talking to John, them any other member of the Executive will be willing to help you. Alternatively use the RFU at

More information will be available on the RFU website at


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