Frequently Asked Questions

Please use this page to find answers to some of the most common questions we are asked by newer members. If your question isn’t answered here, please contact us.

  1. How do I become a referee?
  2. How do I join NLD Refs?
  3. Who runs the Society?
  4. How do I get help with WhosTheRef (WTR)?
  5. How do I get a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and do I need one?
  6. Am I entitled to some Society kit?
  7. What is a Referee Mentor?
  8. What is a Referee Developer/Performance Reviewer?
  9. What is a Referee Coach?
  10. What is a Referee Assessor?
  11. How does the appointments team know my availability?
  12. What is the process for confirming a fixture?
  13. Can I claim travel expenses?
  14. How do I stay in touch with the Society?
  15. What extra support is available from the Society?
  16. What if my question hasn’t been answered here?

How do I become a referee?

The RFU recommend that anyone refereeing rugby at U12s or above completes their England Rugby Introduction to Refereeing (ITR) and/or England Rugby Refereeing Award (ERRA) courses. The Keep Your Boots On website provides more information on these as well as links to course booking. Some local clubs will fund the cost of the course for you and NLD Refs will refund the cost of the ERRA after a new member completes 10 appointments as a match official for us (cancelled/postponed or non-society appointments not included). Referees who have completed Day 1 of the ERRA need not wait to complete Day 2 before starting refereeing- our appointments team will ensure that you are only given appropriate fixtures in the gap between these dates.

How do I join NLD Refs?

We are always keen to take on new members! Please go to the Join Us section of our website where you will be asked to fill out an online application form. After you have submitted an application, someone from our membership team will be in touch to discuss your application further.

Who runs the Society?

A Management Committee meets monthly and is ably supported by sub-committees and an energetic, pro-active membership. Everyone in the Society is a volunteer trying their best to juggle rugby with their day job/s, family and social life!

How do I get help with WhosTheRef (WTR)?

WTR is a website which most referees’ societies (including NLD Refs) use to coordinate appointments and expenses amongst other things. New members will be prompted to sign up soon after they submit an application form. Some elements of the website aren’t the most user-friendly so members can access a Support Hub on the top left of the home screen. If your issue isn’t resolved by reading the Support Hub pages then our Info & Comms Officer, Mike Gray, should be contacted using the contacts page of WTR or by clicking here.

Contacts Page of WTR. Approved members of the Society can find contact details for other members by searching their name.
Click ‘Support Hub’ on the top left of the WTR homepage.

How do I get a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check and do I need one?

A DBS check is required in order to referee Age Grade rugby. Refereeing Age Grade matches supports the development of junior players, allows coaches to focus on coaching and can provide some excellent opportunities for referee development, particularly for new referees. The Society encourages all referees to get a DBS check but it is not compulsory- members who do not hold a current DBS check will only receive adult rugby appointments.

The individuals below will assist with the process for getting a DBS check. If you already have a current DBS check from your rugby club, it is likely you will not need a new one but the appropriate individual below will still require some details from you. If you hold a DBS check for a non-rugby related reason (e.g. you work in a school) it is likely that the RFU’s rules will require you to complete a new check.

Nottinghamshire – James Fisher

Lincolnshire – Mark ‘Spike’ Sheldon

Derbyshire – Richard Roper

Contact details available through WTR or here.

Am I entitled to some Society kit?

Absolutely! New members get one set of match kit (1 x match shirt, shorts and socks) after completing 5 appointments for the Society (cancelled/postponed or non-society appointments not included). The Society makes regular bulk orders of alternative match shirts and members will be notified when these are available for purchase. All other kit can be purchased here anytime.

What is a Referee Mentor?

New members will often see a referee mentor has been appointed to their early fixtures. This is an active referee within the Society who has been appointed to come to your game as a “friendly face”. You can ask them for advice pre and post-match and they will be happy to provide some informal feedback. However, they are not there to formally assess your refereeing and will not provide a written report on your game.

What is a Referee Developer/Performance Reviewer?

A Referee Developer/Performance Reviewer is appointed to a particular game to review a referee and provide a written report which is shared with the referee and the Society’s Match Official Development Team. This helps improve refereeing standards across the Society and build evidence to promote individual referees to a new grade. If a developer/reviewer is appointed to your game, see it as an opportunity to show them what you’ve got!

What is a Referee Coach?

A Referee Coach is assigned to a particular referee, usually at the beginning of the season, to work one-to-one on developing a referee’s performances. They will watch as many of that referee’s matches as they can, providing on-going feedback to the referee, helping them achieve their refereeing goals. This is a skilled, time-consuming role and, as such, the few Referee Coaches the Society has are usually assigned to referees on the Development Squad and/or those with high potential.

What is a Referee Assessor?

NLD Refs does not use the term Referee Assessor but some other Societies still do. Therefore, if you see a Referee Assessor has been appointed to your game on WTR, it is probably because the game is outside of the NLD Region. The “Referee Assessor” will likely be a Referee Developer so expect them to give you feedback and write a report on your game.

How does the appointments team know my availability?

The appointments team can view your availability on WTR. They will get most of each month’s appointments agreed about halfway through the previous month but there is a reappointments lead who works hard during each week to rearrange things as and when cancellations/change in availability comes in. You will receive an automated email from WTR whenever you are appointed to a game. You then need to click “Accept” or “Decline” in this email.

Example WTR appointment email. Members must click ‘Accept’ or ‘Decline’ ASAP to assist the appointments team.

Appointments is one of the most difficult, time-consuming tasks of running the Society so you can help by keeping your availability up to date on WTR, accepting/declining appointments promptly and informing your appointer of any changes ASAP.

What is the process for confirming a fixture?

NLD Clubs are requested to confirm details of a home fixture (location, KO time, team colours etc.) with their referee by Thursday evening for weekend fixtures and by Monday evening for midweek fixtures. They can do this by email, text or phone call. The WTR fixture details should not be considered “confirmation” as these are sometimes uploaded months in advance so can be out of date. Although many do, clubs are not required to contact assistant referees, or referee mentors/developers/coaches so each referee is encouraged to pass on any confirmation they receive to anybody else appointed to the fixture. Should a referee not receive confirmation in the required timeframe they are to contact the appointer. Referees should not travel to a fixture for which they have received no confirmation.

Can I claim travel expenses?

Yes. Expenses are claimable through WTR each month for both matches and training meetings. Our treasurer sends out an email each month reminding members of the process and the cutoff dates to ensure your expenses are paid in a timely manner. Expenses should not be claimed or accepted directly from clubs but they do usually offer you a meal and a drink after your match!

How do I stay in touch with the Society?

Most communication is done by email. The website is also updated frequently. Search “NLD Referees” on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for our public social media pages. We also have a private Facebook page- search “NLD Referee Society” or ask another member to be added.

What extra support is available from the Society?

The Management Committee is well aware that sometimes we all need an extra bit of support, especially given that refereeing is a hobby which can be daunting at times. All members are encouraged to visit the Mental Health page of our website. We also have a Young Match Official/Diversity & Inclusion Officer, Annette Zhao, who sits on our Management Committee and is available to support anybody who feels they need it. Contact details available through WTR or here.

What if my question hasn’t been answered here?

Please use the menus at the top of this page to explore the website and find lots more information on NLD Refs. If you can’t find the information you’re looking for don’t hesitate to use the contact details on WTR or here.