Beginning with discussions at the Mar del Plata Festival, Peter McDermott and the VSL team recognised the unique role that the referees play in the success of the Festivals. Reaching out to interested members of the Golden Oldies family who have refereed past events, the idea grew for establishing an organisation that promoted and recognised the dedication and experience that these referees have been bringing to Golden Oldies and Vintage Rugby events. From consistent application to a standard set of GO Law variations through ensuring that these experienced referees have the opportunity to enjoy refereeing at both international and regional events, the referee organisation would promote and recognise the referees.
During the Golden Oldies World Rugby Festival in Cardiff 2016, the idea was introduced to the assembled group of referees to establish the International Golden Oldies Rugby Referees Association. Quickly the idea of the IGORRA was met with enthusiasm and by the end of the Festival the organisation had 50 members from Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, USA and Wales. During discussions it was agreed that the IGORRA would have the following goals:
- Identifying and creating a pool of experienced referees who would referee the Golden Oldies and Vintage Rugby Carnivals and Matches.
- Promote the referees group for Regional Old Boys & Girls Festivals and matches.
- Development of consistent law variations to be utilised at International and Regional Golden Oldies and Vintage Rugby events.
- Setting the standards and grades for IGORRA members.
- Provide Safety and Enjoyment for the players and the referees.
- Promote and recognise the efforts that the referees have provided to the Festivals.
- Promote the Fun, Friendship and Fraternity that can be achieved at GO/Vintage events and assist in the expansion of the games at regional events.
An important aspect of the organisation was that it would be open to all qualified referees without any charge for membership. The VSL leadership has stated that they were impressed that referees have been attending the past Festivals as players and then volunteering their services to ensure that other teams had experienced referees for their matches. In some cases the members have attended the Festivals simply as referees for the opportunity to enjoy the unique aspects of Golden Oldies Rugby.
The initial qualification for membership is that a referee is recognised by his local organisation as a certified referee. No particular grade or experience level would be required since the GO festivals have many levels of games and the IGORRA would assist in the development of the referees.
Benefits to IGORRA membership will include:
- Recognition of the IGORRA members as the preferred body of officials at all Golden Oldies and Vintage Rugby events.
- Establishing a Referee Evening at the events to promote opportunities to network with fellow referees and increase the friendships established within the referee organisation.
- IGORRA jerseys will be provided for all members. The IGORRA leadership intends to seek sponsorship for a complete kit for all members.
- Input into the Law variations utilised to officiate the games.
- Recognition of individual referees at the events and the contributions they have made to ensure the games are a success.
- Regular newsletters and communications of upcoming events.
- Promotion of the membership to officiate all regional old boys/girls events by identifying the membership on the IGORRA website and the districts they serve.
- Discounts to IGORRA membership for Festival packages and drinks for those members who have committed to officiating the Festivals.
David Haines, from the USA was selected as the first President of IGORRA and will work with Mike Kerrisk, VSL Event Manager – Rugby and IGORRA regional members to continue to refine and meet the organisation’s goals and objectives.
This is an exciting time for IGORRA as we work towards achieving a worldwide movement of recognised referees who have continued their love of the game by providing their expertise of officiating senior rugby. We need your voice, your knowledge and your commitment to make IGORRA successful.
Join us today by contacting, Michael Kerrisk, Rugby Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org