Leading referee Ben Thaler free to return to game after RFL investigation

Leading referee Ben Thaler is free to return to the game after being cleared by the Rugby Football League of any wrongdoing.

The 38-year-old was suspended by the governing body a month ago pending the outcome of an investigation which the RFL says is now complete.

A statement from the RFL read: “Ben Thaler will again be considered for appointments as a member of the RFL’s squad of full-time match officials when competitive rugby league resumes, after the completion of an internal investigation found there was no case to answer.”

Thaler is in his 20th season as a professional referee and has regularly featured in Challenge Cup finals and Grand Finals.

He has not refereed a game since the opening round of the 2020 season when he was in charge of Leeds against Hull.

In a statement, Thaler said: “I’m happy to have been exonerated from any of the allegations made against me, with the process being completed, no adverse findings made and my suspension therefore having been immediately lifted.

“I’d like to put it all behind me now and concentrate on refereeing, whenever games restart.

“I would like to thank my family and friends for their encouragement and support during such a difficult time.

“Their support and the messages of support I have had from the wider game has been overwhelming.”

Thaler was represented by Leeds sports lawyer Richard Cramer.