Chesterfield Panthers President Graham Bell was pleased to award 15 years old Sam Cahill with his “Rugby Football Union Young Match Official” referee jersey at the weekend.

Sam who is a member at the Chesterfield Panthers and attends Springwell Community College, plays the game that uses a round ball but he eagerly embraced the chance to acquire the skills offered by the RFU, “Young Match Official” programme.

The programme aims to attract, train and retain 400 new young officiators to the game. The YMO programme is allied to the “Keep Your Boots On” programme that has helped qualify 1,200 referees and 2,000 coaches into the game with the focus of YMO being to sustain the future of the sport by developing young officials.

“Looking at the current landscape, most referees are in the older age bracket and so, while recruiting from the ranks of former or retiring players is still essential, it is clear that the sport must find, train, mentor and retain referees aged 14 to 24 which is what this programme aims to do,” said Michael Patz, Match Official Development Manager.

Those interested in becoming Young Match Officers should email their name and location to matchofficials@rfu.com for details of YMO training courses in their area or come and talk to us at Chesterfield Panthers RUFC where we encourage all who want to be part of our sport.

This article was provided by Graham Bell, the President of Chesterfield Panthers RUFC.