The Appointments Policy explains how referees are appointed to games. Appointments are made using the most up-to-date information on availability as supplied by each referee. Obviously, there are often changes to accommodate (e.g. cancelled and rearranged games, new fixtures, referee unavailability etc.), so re-appointments can be made up to, and including, the morning before the game in the afternoon.
You can see your appointments on the online application “Who’s the Ref” (WTR), which will also send you notifications by email.
Making appointments involves the complex task of matching the needs of games to the ability, potential and ambition of the available referees. Those involved in appointing will look at a number of factors (e.g. the particular challenges of the games) as well as the basics i.e. the levels of the referees and the games. For example, a local derby may merit a more experienced, higher level referee or may be the opportunity for a newer referee with potential to show his ability and mettle!
They are also trying to “localise” appointments as far as possible, to cut down on travel for referees and expenses for clubs. However, the higher your level, the more likely you may need to travel further.
Being known by the Appointments Secretaries as reliable and flexible will undoubtedly count in your favour when re-appointments are being made and good opportunities arise.
Every game needs a match official and no game should be beneath the dignity of any referee. Appointments Secretaries do not like “prima donnas”. It is important that you build a reputation as a “go anywhere, do anything” referee.
Re-appointments Secretaries are available to help with problems. They are people who also have their own lives to live and although they are flexible, forgiving and calm under pressure, please abide by the rules on contact as set out in the Society handbook.
The grading system (see “How do I get graded?”) is there to help ensure that referees get appropriate games that they will enjoy refereeing. The ambitions and abilities of referees will vary but the Society values all its referees, whatever their level.
More information about the appointments process is given below:
• Fixtures start to be published from as early as June for the forthcoming season. You will be asked to record your availability in WTR by the beginning of July for pre-season and September games. You can also record in WTR any comments about your availability for a particular month and also comments of a more general nature.
• During the season, you must keep your availability up to date on WTR. Appointments are made in six-week blocks, a minimum of two weeks in advance (longer in the case of midweek appointments). The appointments team will only use WTR as the accurate statement of your availability. Obviously your availability may change, either in a planned (e.g., holidays, business commitments) or an unplanned way (e.g., injury, sickness); in all cases it is important that you update your availability immediately. If you already have an appointed game, see below. Early notification saves the Re-appointment Secretaries and club contacts a good deal of valuable time and unnecessary 'phone calls.
• The Re-appointments Secretaries will use the principle that you are available up to 12 noon on Saturdays and Sundays unless they are advised to the contrary; so please help them to get you the right appointments by keeping them informed. It is therefore important that you check your appointments late in the week for weekend appointments, as changes may have to be made for reasons beyond the Appointments Team’s control.
• If you have already been appointed to a game and become unavailable, then let the club contact know as well as the Re-appointments Secretary (shown weekly on the website); similarly, if you are moved from a game that has already been confirmed, then let the club contact know to ensure that games are not left without referees.
• Late "cry-offs" are a major headache for everybody involved in the appointments process, so if you have to cry-off because of injury, try to make the decision as soon as possible to give the Appointments Secretaries sufficient time to make the necessary alterations. It is also important to note that assessors and coaches are appointed to observe referees and therefore last minute cry-offs might jeopardise an observation on your game. (Please note that cry-offs are monitored for data analysis.)
• Normally, the Club Contact should have confirmed with you early in the week of the game. If you do not receive confirmation, please try to contact them; you do not want to waste your time turning up for a game that doesn't happen. If you cannot make contact, speak to the Re-appointments Secretary who will advise on the best course of action and who will then be "in the loop" to re-appoint you should the game be cancelled.
• Each game to which you are appointed will appear on WTR and the notification will include details of the type of game (league, friendly, etc.). It is likely that for some of the days you are available, there will be no fixture showing against your name. This means that you are on stand-by; however, this does not mean that you will be without a game. The Appointment Secretaries try to appoint equitably and aim for each referee to have two appointments and two “stand-bys” in a four-week period. Past records show that some 96% of available referees on any particular Saturday were given a match.
• When you are on stand-by you will usually get an appointment closer to the date through the reappointments process; often these games are of good quality. For such appointments you will normally be contacted directly by the club contact (usually during the week of the match), who will advise you that the re-appointments secretary has advised him/her of your availability.
• Reappointments continue to be made, sometimes as late as the morning of a match due to new fixtures and late changes. Remember that if you are on stand-by you still are assumed to be available to be allocated to a game up to 12 noon on the day.
• If you have to withdraw from stand-by, let the Appointments Secretary know immediately, if possible with a reason, to assist in data analysis, don't leave it until the last minute or when you are contacted by the club - this just causes unnecessary problems and additional work for all concerned.
• If you have not been contacted to referee a game during a week that you are on standby, then it does no harm to politely remind the Re-appointments Secretary that you are looking for a game, perhaps early on the Friday evening. There is a slim chance that you will have been mistakenly overlooked and a gentle reminder always helps.
• After successfully completing your Entry Level Referee Award (ELRA) 2 course and joining the Society you will normally be given the Society entry-level grade (U – unclassified) until you have been seen by an experienced observer. After discussion with the grade coordinator and further observations you may be given a provisional grade (L11). This will be reviewed at the next Officials’ Performance Committee (OPC) meeting that normally meets at least three times a year, (in November, February and May).
• The OPC implements the Society’s Grading Policy. The review will be based on the reports made by Level Coordinators who scrutinise reports from any advisers who have seen you referee and from any club report cards received.
• The Society will do all it can to maximise the number of referees who are watched by match observers. It is worth remembering that promotion can be given at any time and is not always dependent on the next OPC meeting. Your Level Coordinator can recommend a provisional promotion and discuss this with the Chair of OPC. This would then be ratified at the next OPC meeting. However, if you feel you are not being watched enough, speak to your Level Co-ordinator about it.
• As you progress through the levels, you may well find that you are asked to go on ‘Exchange’. This means travelling with other referees to another Society to do games in its region. This is a real development opportunity; you will visit new clubs, be assessed by advisers you do not know and generally soak up the atmosphere of being in another part of the “rugby” country. “Exchange” advisers’ reports may be particularly important in determining grading and are essential for those aspiring to higher levels of refereeing at a regional/national level.
• Referees are graded to determine the level of game that the Society deems them competent to referee. The Society has a duty of care in doing this and will not expose you by giving you too demanding a game. We all start at the bottom. Players at higher Levels are faster, fitter, more skilful and more “professional”. The level of a team is determined by its league level.
• The following table relates referee grades to the level of competence and commitment required.
Table 1: Level of Game equated to referee Grades
|Manchester Levels||Criteria to maintain grade|
|Joining Society||Complete successfully stages 1 and 2 of Entry Level Referee Award (ELRA) and stage 3 via self-assessment.|
|Society 11 to 9||Adviser/assessor reports that demonstrate ability to referee at their level. Completed at least two Continuous Referee Development Award (CRDA) modules per season through attendance at society meetings.|
|Society 8 to 6||Willingness to fulfil appointments at any level on a regular basis. Be prepared to engage in self-assessment processes and submit reports to the Grading Committee. At least one annual adviser/assessor report that demonstrates the ability to referee at current level. Completed at least two CRDA modules per season through attendance at society meetings. Demonstrate commitment to maintaining physical and mental fitness in order to referee at their level.|
|Federation Level 6||Be prepared to travel throughout the Federation to referee. Attend Development Squad Meetings. Undertake appropriate fitness tests. Complete a Personal Development Programme (PD). Work with appointed referee coaches and assessors. Make progress over time as judged be assessment reports and referee coach periodic summaries.|
|Group Level 5||Be prepared to travel throughout the country to referee. Attend North Group Conferences and training days as determined by the North Group Committee. Pass the Assistant Referee (AR) examination / attend AR seminars. Undertake appropriate fitness tests. Complete a Personal Development Plan. Work with appointed referee coaches and assessors. Make progress over time as judged by assessment reports and referee coach periodic summaries. Assist with feedback on Group ARs|