10-year-old who was told he couldn't play rugby becomes referee - Ruck

10-year-old who was told he couldn’t play rugby becomes referee

The story of 10-year-old Arthur Cripps – a newly inspired referee with a bright future in rugby

Picture this, you grow up in a rugby-mad family; your brother plays and you regularly go and watch your favourite team – yet you can’t join in due to a rare heart condition. 

Devastating for anyone, but the reality for 10-year-old Arthur.

Arthur, from Cheadle, Manchester, suffers from tetralogy of fallot, a congenital heart condition that he’s had from birth. 

His health challenges haven’t stopped him doing much, but it does limit him from contact sports, including rugby.

Yet Arthur wasn’t going to let that stop him. After years of frustration, and seeing his brother progress through the sport, Arthur’s world was about to change. 

“It was my brother’s friend Connor who came back one day having refereed and said that I should give it a go,” said Arthur.  1

“Until then my condition had never allowed me to play and I had to sit on the sidelines, but now I’m at the centre of the game as a referee. It’s amazing..” 

With the help of Arthur’s sports teacher Jonny Cartwright, an alternative curriculum was created to allow him to safely learn and develop refereeing skills to oversee games at his school, Cheadle Hulme School. 

Mr Cartwright said: “Refereeing has not only allowed Arthur to become part of the sport he loves, it has also helped him develop the range of skills he needs to manage a game.”

Arthur added: “I really love being there on the pitch as for so long I had to just watch from the sidelines with my heart. 

“It is sometimes strange when my friends have to treat me differently on the pitch calling me ‘Sir’ and having to respect my decisions as the referee, but we soon get back to normal in the playground after. 

“Since I’ve started to learn how to referee at school, I would love to make it a job – something I never thought possible before. 

“I really want to learn more, carry on and see where it can take me.” 

Although Arthur’s journey started only three months ago, his story has captured the imagination of the sport including Sale Sharks and the team at ACME Whistles.

ACME has since introduced Arthur to some of the world’s best referees to inspire him on his journey and pick up some extra tips. 

Ben McFarlane, marketing director at ACME Whistles, said; “We love to hear amazing stories like Arthur’s and wanted to do everything we can to help inspire him to continue on his journey. 

“Arthur is a really articulate and passionate young man. With the support of his teachers, family and the wider sport, I’m sure Arthur will have a bright future behind the whistle.” 

The team at RUCK and ACME Whistles will be following Arthur on his journey and we want to wish him all the luck as he continues to develop his skills and experience as a referee. 

For more information on ACME Whistles, visit www.acmewhistles.co.uk 


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