TTRA Makes Historic Agreement With Townsville Junior Touch Football

The Townsville Touch Referees Association Inc. (TTRA) recently reached a historic agreement with Townsville Junior Touch Football (TJT) to take over the management of its competition's referees from the 2021 season onwards.

The agreement sees control of referees transferred from TJT to the TTRA and was formally proposed at the recently-held TJT general meeting in early July.

TTRA President, Kerrod Hall, temporarily stepped aside from his role as TJT Acting-Chairperson to present the proposal at the meeting, which was developed after considering feedback received from the TTRA’s members and the local touch football community regarding the expectations of a dedicated entity for touch football referees in Townsville.

TJT’s General Committee, comprising of delegates appointed by their respective clubs, voted unanimously to accept the proposal with immediate effect, providing a formal agreement between TJT and the TTRA.

The TTRA was established in 1982 as a separate entity for the purpose of supporting and managing touch football referees in Townsville, and originally had a standing agreement to manage referees of the sport’s local controlling bodies at the time - the former Townsville Touch Association and the Castle Hill Touch Association.

With a merger between the two controlling bodies occurring in December 1988, the agreement with the TTRA was transferred to the newly minted Townsville Castle Hill Touch Association Inc. (TCHTA), known today as Townsville Touch Football (TTF).

Through this long-standing agreement, all referees in TTF's adult competitions are automatically made members of the TTRA after officiating their first match each calendar year.

When junior competitions were established in the early 1990’s, the TTRA did not form an agreement with its management, and though TJT is now managed by a sub-committee of TTF and is not considered a standalone or incorporated entity in its own right, the existing agreement with TTF still only applied to TTF's adult competitions, resulting in junior competition referees not receiving the benefits that can be provided through membership to the TTRA.

Individual members of the TTRA have taken on roles with TJT committees and as volunteer referee coaches over a number of years since establishment, however without a formal agreement in place, the TTRA has had limited focus towards junior competition operations throughout this time.

Considering the feedback received, the TTRA's Management Committee determined that the lack of focus was to the obvious detriment of the organisation and particularly to the junior referees themselves, and determined that bringing all referees under the TTRA's banner would only provide benefit to the Townsville referee community, as well as the wider Townsville Touch Football community in general.

As part of the now adopted proposal, three changes relating to the management of referees in TJT's competitions will occur with immediate effect.

The first change will see TJT no longer call for individual's to nominate for the position of 'Referee Coordinator', instead appointing the TTRA's nominated official to fill the role at its annual general meetings, a process similar to that of TTF appointing the TTRA President as it's Director of Referees.

The TTRA Management Committee envisages that it's nominated official will be the person elected to the role of Vice President (Junior) at its Annual General Meetings, granting that person the title of 'Junior Competitions Referee Coordinator'.

TTRA's Vice President's position is currently held by Denise Weier, who also holds the incumbent TJT Referee Coordinator role, resulting in no immediate change of personnel being required as part of the agreement.

The second change, and the most important in terms of governance and organisation, is the incorporation of TJT referees as members of the TTRA.

Previously, referees who officiated solely in TJT's competitions were not members of the TTRA, resulting in no benefits, such as financial assistance to attend representative events as a referee, being made available to them.

With the control of referees being transferred from TJT to TTRA, and all referees becoming members of the TTRA, all referees in TJT's competitions will now be eligible for financial assistance.

As part of the proposal, the TTRA Management Committee resolved not to charge any additional membership fees to referees who officiate only in TJT's competitions.

Referees who also officiate in TTF's adult competitions already have their membership fees ($10 for the whole year, or $5 for August-December only) deducted from their match payments.

The third change aims to improve the process for making payments to junior competition referees for their services.

Previously, all payments for junior competition referees were handled by TJT, while TTF's adult competition referees were paid by the TTRA, resulting in an unnecessarily confusing process for referees of both competitions.

With the TTRA taking now over management of referees across all TFT and TJT competitions, payments will be made only by the TTRA, resulting in a clearer, centralised, and more streamlined process for all referees regardless of the competitions they officiate in.

TJT's clubs will remain responsible for the allocation of referees to their own matches in accordance with the TJT Competition Rules, with a potential review of the practice to be undertaken by the TTRA and TJT in future years to determine its effectiveness.

TTRA's Management Committee looks forward to working with all junior clubs, their appointed referee coordinators, and referees of TJT's competitions!