The three Tests in South Africa will have neutral referees
The International Rugby Board has announced that the referee appointments for the three British & Irish Lions Tests in South Africa will come from neutral countries.
The decision comes after IRB Match Official Selection Committee Chairman David Pickering and IRB Referee Manager Paddy O'Brien met with management from the British & Irish Lions and South Africa teams in Dubai last week to discuss the selection criteria for the 2009 tour.
"We shared a very positive meeting with management from both teams and discussed the selection criteria for the three Test matches. All agreed that the most appropriate policy is the appointment of neutral referees from within the IRB High Performance Referee Panel," said O'Brien.
"It was also agreed that the referee appointments for the seven additional provincial tour matches will be made by the IRB from the Panel regardless of nationality and will be merit-based," added O'Brien.
The IRB Match Official Selection Committee will meet in Dublin on April 25-26 to consider the appointments for the tour as well as the June-September Test matches, including Tri Nations, Pacific Nations Cup and scheduled tours.