Exclusive: Super League referee James Child to make surprise appearance on popular TV program

It’s always interesting to see those associated with rugby league on the television – mainly because it doesn’t happen very often.

Castleford Tigers captain Paul McShane has appeared on a Question of Sport in the past, though perhaps the less said about his performance on the TV panel show the better.

Well now it is the turn of Super League referee James Child who will be part of a Question of Sport Pride Special that is set to air in the near future.

Child, 39, began refereeing in Super League in 2009 and has been on the Rugby Football League’s elite panel for the last 11 years, with the referee coming out as gay in February 2021 after it had been known amongst his family and friends for a decade.

The experienced referee previously addressed the subject of sexuality in an interview on the BBC’s LGBT Sport Podcast in which he also revealed he has been the target of death threats and homophobic abuse.

But upon coming out, Child was pleased with the response.

“I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I’m delighted generally speaking that it’s been overwhelmingly positive,” said Child.

“I think the worst I’ve seen is indifference, which is absolutely fine.

“I get the view when people say it’s irrelevant because it is irrelevant in many ways. It’s all about what I do on the field.

“I think the message has been pretty well received and I’m happy about that.”

Child has gone on to become one of the most respected and decorated referees in Super League, having been asked to officiate in this year’s Challenge Cup Final between Huddersfield Giants and Wigan Warriors.

The Yorkshireman married his partner earlier this year with the pair’s adopted son, Harris, one year old. Their original wedding had been postponed in 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.