International Rugby League has announced the list of officials scheduled to take charge of emerging nations competitions such as Euro C and D. Sixteen different countries, thirteen of them from regions under the auspices of European Rugby League, are represented on the 26-person panel as part of a programme for development, begun for many through the EU part-funded Erasmus Plus project.
Eight European countries have had match officials nominated by the ERL, three come from the Middle East Africa region and two from the Americas.
Italian official Guido Bonatti commented: “I am honoured about the appointment to the panel and I can't wait to start. Being involved in an international context is always exciting and challenging and I'd like to thank all the people who have supported me through the process. I think my inclusion is clear evidence that the RL governing bodies have made available a variety of opportunities even for non-traditional countries.”
USA representative Cody Kuxmann added: “Officiating has always been my passion. Making the squad is realizing a dream come true. This has been a long journey, which has been developed by many people throughout the US and international community. I look forward to that continuing and more games to come.”
Ireland’s Eamonn Whelan, one of four officials from the country, said: “I am humbled to have been nominated for inclusion in this programme, it is a fantastic opportunity, made possible for me by the support and mentorship that I have received. Obviously I would love to take the whistle for an International or experience a tournament as part of this squad.”
Jaroslav Bzoch, who refereed the only sanctioned international to take place in 2020 between Netherlands and Germany because of the pandemic, noted: “I am really happy. I started refereeing back in 2012 and this is great opportunity to move even further. I would like also to bring some lessons learned back home to the Czechia.”
ERL head of match officials, Tom Mather, commented: “I’m delighted for the group of officials that have been nominated for the emerging panel and I’m really looking forward to working with them over the coming years. We have an exciting blend who have worked with us on the EU Erasmus plus project and have been officiating for several years, through to those who have overcome considerable social and political obstacles to get to where they are today. All the participants selected are thoroughly deserved and it shows what you can earn with hard work and dedication.”
Emerging Match Officials Panel:
Suzanne Abotou, Yannick Dassi (Cameroon), Jaroslav Bzoch (Czechia), Eneri Tale Driu, Senivalati Qarau, Solomone Vateitei (Fiji), Marshall Nortey (Ghana), Aris Dardamanis (Greece), Paul Causby, Fiona McConn, James Spencer, Eamonn Whelan (Ireland), Guido Bonatti (Italy), Peter Tapper, Kemoy White (Jamaica), Lara Saba (Lebanon), Mekenzie Dokta, Max Topani (Papua New Guinea), Luke Fenton (Scotland), Stefan Stamenic (Serbia), Warren Pretorius (South Africa), Tony Palacios (Spain), Roman Bykhov, Denis Cherniev, Oleksandr Ivchenko (Ukraine), Cody Kuxmann (USA)