The RFL has launched a programme that will allow Armed Forces veterans the opportunity to train to become rugby league referees.
They have teamed up with the the UK Armed Forces Rugby League Group to launch ‘Lead the Game’, which will offer up to 30 veterans a year a pathway towards attaining accredited match official qualifications, whilst also taking part in health and wellbeing activities.
The foundations of Super League clubs St Helens, Warrington and Wigan will also be involved by identifying and working with veterans living in their local communities.
Lead the Game project ambassador, and Royal Marine-turned-rugby league referee, Jack Smith (above) said: “It’s really exciting to see the power of rugby league being used to support the wellbeing of veterans in the North West.
“There are plenty of similarities between rugby league and the forces in terms of discipline and camaraderie, so my background really helped my development as a match official.
“I hope other veterans will follow suit, and I’m sure that this time next year we’ll see veterans from the first cohort taking lead match official roles at the men’s and women’s Armed Forces world cups taking place alongside RLWC2021.
“Being a part of a global event will hopefully act as a catalyst for their career progression to the game’s premier competitions in the years to come.”