Scottish Rugby and SRRA launch three-year match official strategy
Scottish Rugby in collaboration with the Scottish Rugby Referees Association (SRRA), is today (Thursday 22 July) unveiling an exciting new way forward to boost refereeing in Scotland.
It is introducing a three-year strategy to support the growth of match officials across the country.
The strategy is centred around ensuring rugby in Scotland has the necessary depth and quality of referees, touch-judges and TMOs to deliver an enjoyable and quality rugby experience for all, whilst sustaining representation for our match officials at the highest international levels.
The Strategy’s core objectives are to:-
* Produce world-class match officials who will be an ever-present on the European and global stage.
* Improve the quality and consistency of officiating.
* Increase the number and diversity of officials to support the growth of the game.
* Improve retention rates at all levels of the game.
* Improve the standards of referee coaching at all levels of the game.
* Streamline and strengthen match official governance at all levels.
Specific work will be implemented by Scottish Rugby, the SRRA and referee societies over the three years to meet the above goals.
Work in supporting match officials across the domestic game has already started through the Scottish Rugby ‘Everyone’s Game' campaign, which sees both funding and practical help being provided to referee societies to assist their individual needs and aspirations to recruit and retain match officials.
The desire to develop the strategy stemmed from a Scottish Rugby and SRRA collaborative conference in November 2020 titled Raising Our Game.
The conference identified the need for a new strategy, and a need for closer alignment between the key stakeholders – Scottish Rugby, SRRA, referee societies, clubs and schools.
A Match Official Project Board was formed in January 2021 compromising of representatives from Scottish Rugby and the Scottish Rugby Referees Association, to oversee the development of the strategy.
Working groups were established in February 2021, again compromising of representatives from Scottish Rugby and the SRRA, to produce recommendations for inclusion in the strategy.
The project board presented the strategic plan in June 2021, before taking it to the SRRA committee and Scottish Rugby Council and Board, who all gave their approval.
Welcoming the new strategy in his first week as Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development, Gavin Scott said: “Match officials are critical to the game at all levels and have a huge influence on people’s enjoyment and participation in rugby.
“Be it facilitating a game of mini rugby, running touch at the local club, or in the Six Nations, match officials play an integral part in the rugby experience. Without them, we have no game.
“I am confident that via this aligned strategy and by working collaboratively with the SRRA and our referee societies we can enhance the experience of match officiating for not only those who pick up the whistle, but the players of our game too." Gavin Scott
“In the last year alone, Scottish Rugby’s high performance referees including Mike Adamson, Hollie Davidson and Sam Grove-White have reached exciting personal career milestones in the Men’s and Women’s Six Nations Championships, and, in the next few days, we’ll see Hollie and Sam officiating at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
“Undoubtedly, many people will be inspired by their achievements and look to do the same, which further increases the importance for us to futureproof our pathways into match officiating, so that our future match officials might have the same opportunities.”
Graeme Hastie, President of the SRRA and member of the strategy’s Project Board, added: “This new strategy will provide us with the opportunities to further develop all roles within the match officiating spectrum and allow us to build on the foundations established by previous development pathways.
“I am very hopeful that during the course of the next three years we will see a wave of people look to take up the whistle and connect with the sport in a manner of different ways besides playing.”
If you're interested in picking up the whistle, click HERE for more information on Scottish Rugby’s Match Officiating courses.