International Rugby Match Officials (IRMO) will work with World Rugby

A new rugby referee union has been launched, with the aims of supporting Test match officials and giving them a seat at the table for future, game-shaping discussions.

According to World Rugby: “International Rugby Match Officials (IRMO), will facilitate key interactions between the global governing body and match officials selected for men’s and women’s international 15s and sevens competitions, enhancing alignment and communication.

“With leading match officials increasingly involved in World Rugby’s decision-making process to enhance safety and spectacle, IRMO will input into discussions and decisions in relation to future laws and protocols development and audience education, while providing a collective voice on tournament provisions and conditions that underpin a high-performance environment at the international level of the game.”

IRMO’s stated key objectives are:

  • To act as a representative body for its members on World Rugby committees and in discussions around the laws of the game, relevant game-related protocols and high performance standards at tournaments for match officials
  • To promote and support the physical and mental wellbeing of members
  • To promote the development of high-performance match officials and inspire more young people to take up officiating
  • To promote the values of the game that are central to the sport’s growth

Referee Wayne Barnes said of the new rugby referee union: “Today’s launch represents an important development for the recognition and support of rugby match officials on the world stage. For the first time there will be a collective voice and support network for international referees and television match officials, championing matters of interest ranging from physical and mental wellbeing promotion to upholding the sport’s values and representing international match officials within World Rugby decision-making structures.”

While fellow official Hollie Davidson, who whistled the recent women’s Rugby World Cup final and also the Sevens World Cup final, said: “IRMO will play an important role in supporting and nurturing the current and next generation of international match officials, working with stakeholders such as World Rugby to provide the platform for our members to be the best they can be on the world stage, while providing inspiration for the next generation to take up the whistle.”

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