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JP Doyle is back refereeing eight months after he was made redundant by the RFU

By Liam Heagney

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Popular referee JP Doyle is set to resume his career in America with the MLR eight months after it emerged he had been made redundant by the RFU in England following a decade on their full-time refereeing staff. It was last August, amid the post-lockdown restart of the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership, when it emerged that Doyle was deemed surplus to requirement by the referees’ department at RFU HQ in Twickenham. 

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Doyle remained involved in refereeing since his redundancy, accepting an invitation to referee at the World Tens tournament that was held over three weekends in Bermuda in October and November, but his latest move to the MLR could mean he will continue long-term as a referee.

Despite all the difficulties currently involved in trans-Atlantic travel, Doyle opted to link up with the MLR and he has been appointed to take charge of this Saturday’s Toronto Arrows and Seattle Seawolves match in Marietta, Georgia.

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Kurtley Beale guests on the latest RugbyPass Offload with Simon Zebo and Ryan Wilson

It was January when the 41-year-old spoke to RugbyPass Offload about his controversial departure from the RFU where he had been part of their national panel of referees since 2006, stepping up to a full-time role in 2010 and going on to take charge of the 2014 Premiership final and officiate at the following year’s World Cup.  

Asked on the show why exactly he was made redundant, Doyle told RugbyPass Offload: “Well, I didn’t actually ask in the end. I just kind of got the news and went ‘fine’. The easiest thing is they just made redundancies, they decided I was the best person to made redundant.

“Players move clubs, people move jobs. It’s not ideal. I wasn’t happy. I didn’t like it. I was upset but I understood their point, where things are. It’s a game, we move on. If there was a story it would be great to get it out there and say what they did and what I did, (but) it’s a situation they were in. They made a decision. It sucks for me. I’m sure it sucks for them as well and you just move on. 

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“There is no chapter seven in the book that you can say, ‘I’ll hold this one back’. It just is a redundancy and there is a lot of people in a lot of situations at the moment and no one is going to cry for a referee, unfortunately.” 

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JP Doyle is back refereeing eight months after he was made redundant by the RFU

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