Cape Town - Joël Jutge, World Rugby's manager of referees, has given notice
that he is withdrawing from his office in April 2016, in which month he
will turn 50.
He has been in the position for four years in succession to Paddy
O'Brien, who had been in the job for seven years and then switched to
running Sevens match officials.No reason is given for Jutge's withdrawal. All he has said is that he
believes that the referees are well placed and that the time is right to
seek new challenges.Jutge said: “I have enjoyed this role enormously and it has been a
pleasure to work with so many great people within this game we all love.
I am very grateful to the referees, who work so hard at what they do.
They have been willing to learn more and determined to improve. I am
also grateful to John Jeffrey, the referee managers and everyone at
World Rugby for their support and expertise.
“I also enjoyed working with the national team coaches. We developed
strong relationships based on mutual respect and open communication that
allowed us always to express our views clearly and productively. It
certainly has been a challenging and ultimately rewarding journey, but
the time is right for me to move on and spend more time with my family."
World Rugby chairperson Bernard Lapasset said: “Joël's exceptional and
expert dedication to driving forward elite match official standards has
significantly benefitted the global game, which was very apparent during
Rugby World Cup 2015, where performances were very good. He will be a
very tough act to follow, but leaves behind him a great legacy of high
performance. The foundations are in place to ensure that the world’s top
referees are again in peak form as they prepare for Rugby World Cup
2019 in Japan.”
Chairman of World Rugby match official selection committee John Jeffrey
said: “I would like to thank Joël for his hard work, dedication and
enthusiasm over the past four years for what is an incredibly intense
and difficult job. His honesty, passion for rugby and immense knowledge
of officiating have been invaluable to the organisation and have served
the game well. The officiating during Rugby World Cup 2015 was of the
highest standard and that is testament to the work he has put in over
the last four years. He will be missed by the referees, by the
international coaches with whom he maintained an open and positive line
of communication, and by his colleagues at World Rugby.”
The process to recruit Jutge's replacement is still to be announced.