IMPORTANT Friday bulletin 17/12/21

Welcome to the last Friday bulletin before Christmas, and the last one of 2021. It’s been a ‘stop-start’ year in terms of rugby, and we hope that 2022 brings a less disrupted year of officiating.

Weekend Fixtures, 17-19 December

Some important matters relating to this coming weekend’s fixtures. You may have seen that the RFU have notified community clubs that if they wish, they may postpone this weekend’s fixtures without penalty. Their full guidance notes can be seen by clicking here, and is summarised below (sections particularly relevant to referees are highlighted). The advice to clubs includes:

  • Encouraging players, coaches, members, match officials, to undertake Lateral Flow Tests ahead of attending and to self-isolate if the test is positive, and take a PCR test to verify the result.
  • Minimising use of changing rooms – encourage players to arrive in kit. If changing rooms or treatment rooms are required, facemasks must be warn and rooms should be ventilated where possible.
  • Minimising use of social spaces, ventilating where possible and keep spacing within rooms.
  • Implementing regular cleaning protocols of communal areas and toilet facilities.
  • Ensuring hand sanitisers are readily available
  • Reminding members to follow government and public health guidance on mask wearing.
  • Minimising travel with other people to and from matches

If you are not comfortable in fulfilling your allocated fixture this weekend as a referee, please inform the appointments team by midday on Friday 17th December, by emailing appointments@northmidsrefs.co.uk or messaging the Re-Appointments Officer Rab Cooper. Similarly, the local RFUs have been asked to ensure that any club postponing their game informs the referee in good time.

Age-Grade Rugby from January

A reminder that from 1 January age-grade rugby regulations revert to their original levels. So for example U16 teams who have been playing U15 regulations up to the end of 2021, will revert to ‘normal’ U16 regulations from January. Teams and coaches still have discretion to ‘play down’ to a regulation below their age grade if they feel that their players are not ready, so please treat this with empathy in your age-grade games in January. In addition 17-year-olds may now play adult rugby if this has been sanctioned in accordance with Regulation 15.6 and approved by North Mids RFU or the player’s local Constituent Body. For a helpful summary of age-grade variations kindly provided by our Sunday appointer Paul Scott, please see our Useful Documents page, and check out the RFU’s helpful YouTube videos on the same topic

Wishing you and your families all a safe, healthy and happy Christmas: keep reading these updates as we go into the second half of the season!

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