Rugby League match officials are set to benefit from the introduction of a newly formed Management Group in a new initiative that provides the opportunity for officials to have their voices heard.

The scheme has been put in place for officials involved in competitions ranging from community level to Super League and is designed to give support to the development of match officials across the country.

The representatives are Phil Bentham (First Utility Super League), Joe Cobb (Kingstone Press Championships), John Roberts (Academy) and Steve Pease and Sally Walters-Thomas (community game).

Super League referee Ben Thaler has been appointed chairman with the responsibility of leading the voluntary positions through the RFL Match Official Strategy to ensure continued professional development.

“It is a great honour to be asked to become chair of this new programme and I’m looking forward to working with officials at all levels throughout the UK,” said Thaler.

“This is a great initiative for match officials at all levels of the game, particularly at grassroots where the level of support and coaching for match officials will be the highest it has been in the history of Rugby League.

“The RFL has made significant investments to ensure there is a pathway and support network for officials coming from our regional leagues, all the way from the community game through to Super League.

“This investment has come not only in new programmes but also in the coaching and development panels, which are there to support match officials throughout the game.

“This is an exciting development for match officials across the country and we will definitely benefit from having this new structure in place.

“We are always open to new volunteers joining our growing family, and now, with the formation of this group, there is a scheme which can benefit all those who officiate and aspire to officiate in Rugby League.”

Former top flight officials David Campbell, Ian Ollerton, Paul Crashley, Tony Brown and Keith Leyland are amongst the volunteers that have all been given posts in the new development structure, whilst ex-referees Fred Lindop and John Holdsworth are both set to return to the game coaching junior referees.

If you are interested in becoming a match official in Rugby League, please