Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) has confirmed the 12-man match official squad for the U19s European Championship 2018 to be held in Belgrade, Serbia, from 4 to 11 August. It includes referees from nine countries and represents the broadest range of nations ever to officiate at an official rugby league tournament, beating the previous record of five nations at the 2015 Pacific Games in PNG.
Phil Smith RLEF match official chef de mission said: “This has been made possible by the investment made over recent years in a comprehensive education programme to produce match officials on the continent. We’re already targeting representation of RLEF produced officials at the 2021 World Cup and these championships will be a great development step in that aim.”
Smith will be supported by RL Ireland head match official Steve Hogan, whilst the Serbian RL Federation’s Radoslav Novakovic will be the tournament match officials manager – representing the tenth nation involved in the tournament panel. The squad covers every language spoken in the tournament, including two fluent Russian speakers.
Also, the first European Match Officials Panel has been formed in April this year, to deal with appointments for sanctioned international fixtures in the jurisdiction of the RLEF, as well as managing international development and performance pathways for referees and touch judges.
The MOP comprises of RLEF match official manager Tom Mather, Federation Française de Rugby XIII’s Mohamed Drizza and the Rugby Football League’s Steve Ganson.
Mohamed Drizza, head of the French federation’s Comite Centrale des Arbtires, will also attend with the competition coming two weeks after a strategic match officials summit in Le Barcares for the leading French match official educators.
U19 European Championship 2018 match official squad
Jaroslav Bzoch (Czech Republic); Craig Smith and Cameron Worsley (England); Mohamed Drizza and Benjamin Casty (France); James Spencer (Ireland); Guido Bonatti (Italy); Robin Hachache (Lebanon); Bartlomiej Sierota (Poland); Antonio Palacios and Andrew Pilkington (Spain); Oleksandr Ivchenko (Ukraine).