RFL brings in ‘ref cam’ at community level in bid to stop referee abuse

This weekend’s North West 16-18s Semi Finals will feature the latest phase of the Enjoy the Game campaign – the “Ref Cams” which have already made such a positive impact in the National Conference League this season.

After observing the success of the cameras in the NCL, both in moderating player behaviour and also to help in the development of match officials, the RFL have made a significant investment with the support of Barla and a number of Leagues to roll them out more widely across the community game – initially in a pilot scheme for the closing weeks of the 2022 season before they become much more familiar in 2023.

Liam Moore, the leading Super League referee who is also the RFL’s Match Officials Recruitment and Development Manager, said: “We think this is a significant step forward for the community game, both in terms of the Enjoy the Game campaign and also for referee development.

“The National Conference League showed their commitment to tackling issues relating to player behaviour and respecting match officials when they made a big investment in purchasing a number of cameras for referees to wear at fixtures through the 2022 season.

“We have kept a close eye on the scheme, led by Tom Grant, who is lead coach for the NCL referees. In addition to the improvement in player behaviour, and especially a reduction in abusive language towards match officials from both players and spectators, Tom has found the footage really helpful when he’s working with them.

“Working with the Community Board, we identified the opportunity to make the cameras available much more widely across the community game. Barla have been really supportive, as have a number of Leagues, and they have also provided additional funding to increase the number of cameras we can buy.

“That means the Ref Cam will make its debut in the North West League in their 16-18 Semi Finals this weekend, and it will continue to be used in the NCL during the Play-Offs in the different divisions and building to the Premier Division Grand Final in Featherstone next month.

“When you think that this time last year Rugby League was quite rightly shocked as we came to terms with the assault of a match referee, Joe Stearne, during an NCL fixture, hopefully this is a sign that the sport is moving in the right direction, at all levels, in terms of ensuring respect for match officials.”

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