World Rugby has announced that Frenchman Joël Jutge will leave his role as high performance match officials manager in April next year.
Jutge took up office four years ago, and was responsible for creating a platform and environment for match officials to perform to the best of their abilities. He will now step down having developed and maintained high-standard performance and management programmes during that tenure.
As part of World Rugby's match official selection committee, Jutge was also instrumental in implementing a new selection and review process, which helps new talent emerge while challenging more experienced panel members towards constant improvement.
With an effective pathway in place to guide up-and-coming officials ahead of the 2019 World Cup, Jutge believes it's time for a new challenge.
'I have enjoyed this role enormously and it's 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. I'm also grateful to John Jeffrey, the referee managers and everyone at World Rugby for their support and expertise,' Jutge said.
'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,' he added.
World Rugby will announce Jutge’s replacement in due course.
Photo: World Rugby