Phil Bentham to leave role as RFL head of referees
The Rugby Football League has begun the search for a new head of referees after confirming Phil Bentham is to quit the role.
The RFL says the 49-year-old Bentham will vacate his role of match officials coach next month to pursue career opportunities outside the sport.
Bentham, who was one of the Rugby Football League’s first full-time referees in 2007, took on the role when Steve Ganson stepped down for medical reasons towards the end of the 2020 season.
Another former referee, Steve Presley, retired from his coaching role during the Covid break.
Bentham refereed four Challenge Cup finals and two Grand Finals and was in the middle for the 2014 Four Nations final between Australia and New Zealand in Wellington.
His refereeing career came to an end after he was involved in a collision with Widnes forward Chris Houston three years ago which left him with whiplash-type injuries.
A statement from the governing body said: “Phil Bentham has informed the RFL that he will leave next month to pursue other career opportunities outside the sport.
“We thank Phil for his fine refereeing career and the work he has done since, as a match officials coach and recently as acting head of match officials.
“A recruitment process is in place to fill two match officials coach roles.”
Former Super League referee Ian Smith said on Twitter: “Really disappointing to hear that Phil Bentham has resigned from the refs dept.
“Of all the ones who have left over the last few years, him leaving will have the biggest impact on the dept. His professionalism, honesty and integrity will be sorely missed.”