Praise for Cummings in creating ‘lasting legacy’ of professionalism

Stuart Cummings is to step down as referees’ chief after 13 years in the role.

Cummings, who retired from refereeing to head up the Rugby Football League’s match officials department in 2000, will quit his job on March 20 but will stay on in a consultancy capacity.

He will be responsible for appointments for the end-of-season World Cup and, in the meantime, his domestic duties will be shared by match officials coach Ian Smith and technical co-ordinator Jon Sharp.

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Cummings said: “My role as RFL match officials’ director has been both challenging and rewarding.

“However, after 24 years at the top level of refereeing, I now feel the time is right to move on to other projects and opportunities, whilst maintaining contact with rugby league.”

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: “On behalf of the whole sport I would like to thank Stuart for his terrific work in the match officials department, which has been transformed under his stewardship.

“Stuart’s lasting legacy will be the professionalism he instilled in the sport’s match officials and I am delighted that he has agreed to continue to assist us going forward in a pivotal year.”

A former international referee of the year, Cummings officiated in four Challenge Cup finals, two Super League Grand Finals and two World Cup finals and, in his off-field role, oversaw the introduction of full-time referees in 2007.

Castleford, meanwhile, have confirmed the departure of commercial manager Nick Fozzard.

Fozzard, 36, quit after 11 months in the job, just a week after chief executive Steve Ferres stepped down from his post at the Super League club.

The Tigers also announced that Fozzard’s wife Sarah has resigned as marketing manager with immediate effect. She was appointed on a short-term basis last summer to help deliver the club’s membership scheme.

Fozzard was appointed last March, just days after bringing to an end his 19-year playing career with Leeds, Huddersfield, Warrington, St Helens, Hull KR, Castleford, Dewsbury and Great Britain after failing to recover from a shoulder injury.

He announced his resignation on his Twitter account.