Rugby Football Union Launches Project To Train, Recruit Referees
The Rugby Football Union, with the backing of England Coach Stuart Lancaster, is becoming "ever more serious about changing perceptions" of referees who are often subject to "criticism," according to Mark Souster of the LONDON TIMES. The union wants to persuade young players that "taking up refereeing might be something to consider" if a professional playing career does not work out. RFU Head of Elite Referee Development Ed Morrison said, “What we have not done well enough in the past is be proactive enough in selling ourselves in terms of the job and why and how we do it. That is changing.” As part of that mission, the union has launched a new scheme entitled ELRA Pro [Entry Level Refeering Award]. It is aimed at "members of the academies" at each of the 12 Aviva Premiership clubs and "designed to improve a player’s overall understanding of the laws of rugby." The first two-day course was held recently at Aviva Permiership club Harlequins FC and will be "rolled out across the Premiership in the coming months." It was run by English referee Chris White, who already has "four individuals on the program and is actively on the hunt for suitable recruits" (LONDON TIMES, 10/17).