Schoolboy told he couldn't play rugby has become a referee 2 weeks ago

Schoolboy told he couldn't play rugby has become a referee

A 10-year-old schoolboy told he couldn't play rugby anymore is now enjoying life as a referee

Arthur Cripps, from Cheadle, Manchester, suffers from tetralogy of Fallot, a congenital heart condition that limits him from participating in contact sport.

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For a rugby-mad lad like Arthur, this was devastating - but he wasn't about to let it prevent him from getting involved in the game he loves.

His brother plays rugby and he is a keen follower of Sale Sharks, and Arthur's route into the game came close to home.

Arthur said: "It was my brother's friend Connor who came back one day having refereed and said that I should give it a go.

"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.

Speaking exclusively to JOE, Mr Cartwright said: "Whenever the pupils are learning a skill or developing something in lessons or at rugby club, Arthur learns how to referee that element of the game.

"Rugby prides itself on being a game for all. It's been brilliant to support Arthur in being able to participate in a meaningful way with his peers whilst developing skills that allow him to manage and referee a game of rugby."

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Arthur is being supported on his refereeing journey by ACME Whistles, whose marketing director Ben McFarlane 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."

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