(Reuters) - Television match officials (TMOs) employed by England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) earn far less than their counterparts in other rugby unions around the world, The Times reported on Wednesday.
The newspaper also reported that Claire Hodnett, England’s sole TMO in the ongoing women’s Six Nations tournament, was not being paid match fees by the RFU, the biggest and richest union in the sport.
The RFU has three TMOs working in the men’s Six Nations and pays them a match fee of 500 pounds, the report said.
Even that figure compares unfavourably with TMOs who work for other unions, with the Irish Rugby Football Union paying its official 1,400 euros (1,203.4 pounds) per game and TMOs for Rugby Australia earning more than 1,000 pounds per international game.
Hodnett, who works as a solicitor for Warwickshire County Council and takes time off to fulfil her duties as a TMO, had her expenses covered by the RFU for games she officiated in Scotland and Ireland but did not receive match fees.
The report said the Scottish Rugby Union pays its TMO more than 500 pounds a game in the women’s Six Nations.
“While we’re making great strides in the development of the women’s game in England, and it moves towards being fully professionalised, this is an area we hope to address with the support of World Rugby and the Six Nations,” an RFU spokesperson told Reuters via email.
World Rugby pays unions an annual fee to train referees on its behalf, but the global governing body allows each union to decide its own pay structure, leading to disparity in how TMOs are paid.
Hodnett, who has refereed at two women’s World Cups, is paid 230 pounds per match in the English Premiership, the same as her male counterparts.
Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge