The Good Match Official’s Code

Match officials are an integral part of the development of young players. They have a responsibility to ensure that games are managed in such a way as to ensure both the safety and enjoyment of all players. Equally, match officials should gain respect from players, coaches and spectators through the quality of their officiating.


In Rugby Union match officials should:

  • Recognise the importance of fun and enjoyment when officiating young players.
  • Provide positive verbal feedback in a constructive and encouraging manner during games
  • Emphasise the spirit of the game.
  • Appreciate the needs of the young players before the needs of the sport.
  • Understand the physical, social and psychological development of young players.
  • Be a positive role model. You set an example and, as such, comments you receive should be positive and supportive.
  • Look to self-improvement by taking one of the RFU referee courses e.g. Mini/Midi or National 15-a-side.


In Rugby Union match officials must:

  • Recognise that the safety of young players is paramount.
  • Explain decisions – all young players are still learning.
  • Always penalise foul play.
  • Play advantage whenever possible in order to let the game flow.
  • Show empathy for the age and ability of young players.
  • Be consistent and objective.
  • Ensure that verbal abuse from players, coaches or spectators is not tolerated and is dealt with by club officials immediately.
  • Be aware of, and abide by, the RFU Child Protection Guidance policies and procedures.


Remember: Officials working with young players up to the age of 12 must officiate to the rules laid down in the RFU continuum and must keep themselves updated on rule changes. Officials working with young players age 13+ must officiate according to the under 19 and Under 15 Law variations and keep themselves updated on relevant changes.