• Dorset & Wiltshire Society of Rugby Union Referees (The Society) provide additional support to its Young Match Officials (YMOs).   For the purpose of this policy, YMOs are those referees between the ages of 14 and 17 inclusive, at the start of the season as published by the RFU.
  • The society provide a suitable YMO Development Officer who will oversee the programme.
  • The membership secretary will identify suitable applicants to the society and notify the YMO Development Officer.
  • Applicants to join the society’s YMO programme must have successfully completed the England Rugby Referee Award (or its equivalent).   This qualification will be checked by the society’s Membership Secretary prior to the YMO attending their first match.
  • After 5 games as a member of the society, the YMO will receive a set of society kit.
  • The applicant’s parent(s)/guardians(s) must countersign the society’s application for membership form.
  • Those volunteers involved in the scheme, as support, shall be required to apply for an enhanced DBS check in accordance with the RFU policy.
  • YMOs must only officiate within the RFU’s regular season as per regulation 15 in the RFU handbook.   Any tournament outside the regular season must obtain permission from the RFU.
  • All elements of the RFU’s safeguarding policy must be adhered to when YMOs are appointed to properly organised and recognised out-of-county festivals. Permission for such tours must be obtained from the society Executive Committee.
  • Each YMO is appointed a local mentor.   The purpose of the mentor is to be the first point of contact in the society for any questions to do with procedure and/or refereeing.   To this end, the mentor should be either a senior society referee or a Match Official Developer.   Mentors must have a current enhanced DBS check.
  • The YMO development officer provides 3 YMO training sessions per season.
  • The Grading Committee retains overall control of a YMOs grade.   A sub category of suitable age grade matches will also be applied to ensure that YMOs are not appointed to matches above their ability and confidence.
  • RFU Form 1 will be used for all matches where the YMO is watched below colts level.
  • Appointments to matches are completed following YMO Appointment Guidelines. These are at Annex B
  • YMOs will be entitled to claim for travel as per the society’s usual procedures.
  • RFU Safeguarding Policy must be followed at all times.

Guiding Principles

  • The whole programme is centred on the child’s needs and wants. To this end, time at each meeting/training event is provided so the society YMO Development Officer can meet with the YMO and parent(s)/guardian(s) to ensure these are being met.
  • The aim of the programme is to develop the YMO as a person as well as to be the best match official that they can be.
  • The environment that the YMO is in must always be a safe one that they feel comfortable in.
  • The society Safeguarding Officer ensures those that are appointed as mentors are suitable for the role.
  • Parent(s) / Guardian(s) are to be fully involved in the process and decision making around the YMO.
  • Parent(s) / Guardian(s) should remain with, and responsible for, the YMO at a training event or match, unless the appropriate society Mentor, Coach, or YMO Development Officer are present.
  • No YMO will be appointed to a match that is above their ability or grade.
  • Liaison with coaches prior to a match is essential to ensure that they are aware a YMO is officiating, suitable changing and shower facilities are available and that no adult will be sharing the facilities with them. The society will only appoint to those clubs who have a separate referee changing room with integrated showers. The YMO Development Officer will maintain a list of these clubs and liaise with the Appointers.
  • YMOs are encouraged to carry on playing rugby and to engage with other sports.

Young Match Official Appointing Principles

  • The YMOs will maintain their availability and be appointed on Who’s The Ref.
  • A copy of any appointment must also be sent to the YMO’s parent/guardian.
  • It is not acceptable for a YMO to be appointed to an unsuitable match simply because they are the only one available. It is better for no referee to be appointed in this instance.
  • YMOs will be the first to be appointed to matches in their grade/age group.
  • YMOs will initially only be appointed to under 14 matches. If suitable matches are not available, the YMO is encouraged to speak to local clubs, local schools etc. Due to the lack of these age group matches on any day that is not a Sunday, these will count towards the 5 matches if the society is notified.
  • The decision to move up age groups will be taken by the YMO development officer, in conjunction with the grading officer, mentor and any coach that is appointed.
  • The YMO will not be appointed to adult matches until they have attained 17 years of age.
    The society, subject to the YMO making themselves available for matches, will appoint a Match Official Developer or Coach to watch the YMO at a competitive match at least twice in the season.

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