International Rugby League (IRL) has appointed a further three referees to its newly formed elite match officials panel.
English referees, Robert Hicks, Chris Kendall and Liam Moore had their nominations from the Rugby Football League (RFL) accepted and will take their places in the squad for 2021.
All three officials are part of the RFL Full Time Referees squad, who referee regularly in the Super League, and all the officials have been involved in officiating the international game.
The Elite International Match Officials Panel will be made up of eight referees with no one country being able to have more than three referees on the panel.
The remaining referee will be selected to the panel once nominations have been received from the other countries.
Hicks said of his appointment: “I am obviously delighted to have been selected for the inaugural elite panel and grateful to those that have nominated me.
“It is a great reward for the countless hours put in throughout the last few seasons. International rugby league is the pinnacle and to be selected for this panel in World Cup year is exceptionally exciting.
Kendall commented: “To referee at International level is the pinnacle of any match official’s career so I am honoured to be appointed to the elite squad.
“With the 2021 World Cup just around the corner, the prospect of refereeing a home World Cup is really exciting, especially given the challenging times we are all currently facing”.
Moore added: “It is an honour to be appointed to the elite international referees squad. The international game is the pinnacle, and it is a privilege to be a member of this squad.
“I am excited by the growth of the International game and looking forward to working with the other officials.”
International Match Official Panel
Grant Atkins (Australia)
Robert Hicks (England)
Chris Kendall (England)
Ashley Klein (Australia)
Liam Moore (England)
Henry Perenara (New Zealand)