James Child has advised the RFL that he will stand down from the full-time Match Officials squad in 2023, after well over a decade as one of the sport’s leading officials.
The 39-year-old became one of a select group to have officiated at four Rugby League World Cups with his involvement in this autumn’s competition, and his list of major match appearances as a referee also includes the 2017 Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford, and the 2022 Betfred Challenge Cup Final at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The majority of his major matches have been as a touch judge, an impressive list which includes five Challenge Cup Finals, eight Super League Grand Finals, seven World Club Challenges and two World Cup Finals (2008 and 2013).
He was also video referee in two Challenge Cup Finals, one Grand Final and a World Club Challenge.
He racked up a remarkable total of 333 Super League fixtures as a referee, not counting touch judge and video refereeing appointments – signing off in lively style in the feisty Play-Off between Catalans Dragons and Leeds Rhinos in Perpignan.
Having joined the RFL’s Grade One list in 2008 at the unusually young age of 24, and moved to the full-time squad two years later, James played a significant role in the development of younger match officials, in seven years as a Match Officials Manager from 2011-17 coaching touch judges at Championship / League One level.
He also won widespread admiration in early 2021 when he broke new ground for a Rugby League referee by appearing on the BBC’s LGBT Sport podcast.