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Staffs Referees protocol

Referee - Club Protocol:

This document lays out the protocol that referees will expect from clubs and their coaches for the season 2013/2014.

Referee abuse is becoming a major problem in the game particularly at the mini/junior level and from coaches, managers and spectators.

Clubs should be aware that the Referee Society, conscious of its duty of care to its members, is now asking its members to highlight issues of abuse from spectators, players and coaches at clubs.

Referees, the same as players, do make mistakes in the game.

Incidents where Referees have had to abandon matches due to poor player discipline or coach/spectator abuse are increasing. Clubs should be aware that the RFU recommended sanction for an abandoned game is a 25-point deduction. (A league club 2nd team could get its first team that sort of deduction.) 


  • The referee should where possible arrive at the ground no later than 45minutes
    prior to kick off to ensure that all the safety checks required can be done in time. They should on arrival make contact with the captains/coach/team manager to enable these checks to be carried out prior to kick off.

  • The referee will referee the game according to the laws of the game and will
     expect the players and coaches of the teams involved to have an understanding of the laws of the game as well.

  • Referees will go through the sequence for scrums with the respective front rows
         including the timing of their sequence and also check the studs of all
         players including replacements in the game.

  • Referees will insist that all replacements from both teams are on the same side of
         the playing enclosure due to the regulation re rolling replacements.
         Replacements will only be allowed to come on from the halfway line with
         the permission of the referee.
  • Referees will brief the touch judges of what they expect from them (touch and
  • Referees will be available to coaches up to 15mins prior to kick off for questions
         on the game but it is up to each individual referee as to whether he/she
         wishes to answer any of them
  • Referees may, if they wish, speak to the captains of each side at half time as part
         of their game management strategy.
  • Referees will not be available to coaches/club officials from 15mins before the
         game until 30mins after the end of the game including half time.


Coaches should not approach the referee from a period of 15mins prior to the start
     of the game till 30mins after the final whistle. (They may during the game
     indicate to the referee that they want to make a replacement.)

Any dialogue with the referee during the game should be made via the captain.
     In mini/midi and junior matches (under 14 and below) where this is not
     applicable then the coach may be allowed at the discretion of the referee
     to discuss playing matters at half time.

Coaches should restrict themselves to the technical area if one is provided. If one is not, then to a point between  the halfway line and the 10-metre line.

Coaches should at all times be well beyond the touchline and should not walk
     or run up and down the touchline

Coaches who stand behind the posts may do so provided they are well outside the
     playing area and where a barrier is provided behind that barrier.Coaches
     should be encouraged to give positive playing instructions to their own
     players but should not shout at the referee. Continual shouting at the
     referee can be considered abuse/harassment and as such can be reported to
     the appropriate disciplinary authority.

     appreciate the time and effort put into the game by the coaches and they
     will of course not always see decisions the same way. Referees are
     encouraged to speak to coaches, and there is no reason why a discussion
     cannot take place in the clubhouse after the game after the 30 minute

     can also contact the referee society’s training or development officers to
     discuss the referee’s performance. If a match observer is in attendance
     s/he may also be approached.



  • Clubs where possible should provide a barrier between the playing enclosure and spectators for the safety of both the players and the spectators. This will also restrict access to the playing enclosure.

  •  If this is not possible the Club must ensure that spectators and/or parents are aware that they must not come onto the playing enclosure.
  • Clubs at level 5, 6 and 7 must ensure that a technical area is clearly marked on
         the side of the pitch.
  • Clubs have all signed up to the good conduct code and have a responsibility to
         ensure that players, coaches and spectators are all fully aware of its
         contents and how to behave.
  • Clubs should have a process by which they can deal with members who regularly
         have behaviour problems with match officials or who verbally abuse
  • Clubs should bear in mind that some referees are under 17 years of age and
         verbal abuse is treated very seriously by the RFU/Staffs CB and the
         Referees Society.
  • Clubs should be aware the Referees Society will actively back and support club
         referees who are subject to abuse/ behaviour problems when refereeing