London - France's Joel Jutge has been appointed as the new head of match officials by European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), the organisation announced Tuesday.
The former Test referee, who previously held a similar post with World Rugby, where he presided over the match officials programme at last year's Rugby World Cup, will be responsible for the referees and assistants controlling fixtures in EPCR's showpiece European Rugby Champions Cup and second-tier Challenge Cup tournaments.
Jutge, who will take up his new post on July 1 in succession to Ireland's Donal Courtney, said in a statement: "I am really pleased to be joining the team at EPCR at such an exciting time and to have the opportunity of building on the strengths and traditions of the professional club game in Europe.
"I'm looking forward to working with the clubs, leagues, national federations and referee managers to deliver the best possible match officials programme."
Jutge, who started refereeing in 1991 after a playing career with Colomiers and Cahors ended, took charge of 24 Test matches and officiated at the 2003 and 2007 World Cups.
He also refereed 46 European club matches, including the 2002 European Cup final between Leicester and Munster.
After his refereeing career ended, Jutge, 50, served as the elite referee manager at the French Rugby Federation (FFR) from 2007 to 2012 before joining the International Rugby Board, as World Rugby was then known.
"We are delighted to have secured the services of someone with Joel's expertise and experience in the key area of match officials," said Vincent Gaillard, EPCR director general.
"He has already earned a reputation as a top administrator with World Rugby and the FFR and he has a deep understanding of the game at the elite level. He is certain to play a major part in the ongoing development of our tournaments."