Becoming a Match Official

Why referee?

There are many reasons to take up officiating, remaining involved in the sport after playing, choosing to enhance your knowledge of the laws or progressing through the career pathway to achieve your goal in officiating.  No matter what the reason, officiating is a rewarding, exciting, and enjoyable way to stay involved in rugby.

The first step to officiating in Scotland is to decide whether you wish to be a referee, assistant referee or a club touch judge?

Becoming a referee

You need to attend a level one course. This course is intended to provide new referees with the fundamental skills to referee rugby union safely, with equity and to the basic laws of the game. The course is designed to use practical and theoretical based activities and takes 6 hours.  At the conclusion of this course you are qualified to officiate matches within Scotland up to 3XV adult rugby. 

If you are interested in becoming a Society referee, go to the online course information to register for the next available course.

Assistant refereeing/Club touch judging

Assistant Referees are appointed by Scottish Rugby to service the Premiership and National 1 leagues in Scotland.  Working within a team of three match officials, the assistant referees support the referee before, during and after the game. To become an assistant referee you need to attend the assistant referee course. This course is intended to provide you with the fundamental knowledge of the ball going into touch and the skills to operate within a team of three match officials. 

If you don’t want to operate at the highest level of domestic rugby, and would rather run touch for your clubs 1st XV, this course is designed to give to the essential skills you require to enjoy the game as a participant and be a valued volunteer within your club.  The course is theoretical based and takes 4 hours. 

If you are interested in becoming a Scottish Rugby assistant referee or club touch judge, go to the online course information to register for the next available course.

Match Official Pathway

Improving the quality and quantity of active match officials is essential to the development of the game at all levels. Scottish Rugby aims to provide a pathway for referee development.  The aim is to ensure that the right skills, knowledge and traits of a referee are established and employed to a suitable level of rugby at the correct time of the referee’s development.

For those interested in becoming a referee, the career pathway below details the developmental and educational criterion for referees as they advance through their refereeing journey.

Scottish Rugby advises that all match officials are licensed to the appropriate level within the career pathway.