Charani Liyanage will create history when she becomes the first female referee to take charge of an A-Division schools rugby game.

She will blow in the match between hosts Thurstan and Wesley at the Air Force rugby grounds, Ratmalana on Saturday 22 June at 4.00 p.m.

A young sporting talent from Kolonnawa, Charani completed her A/L’s at St. Anthony’s Girls’ School Dematagoda and enlisted in the Sri Lanka Army in 2009.

She took up rugby by participating in the inter-regimental games, and went on to first represent Sri Lanka in 2016. From then on, she retained her place as a regular in the national team.

Wishing to expand her interests in the game, she became a member of the Sri Lanka Society of Rugby Football Referees (SLSRFR) in 2022.

She committed to the demands of the SLSRFR referee training and development programme with deep interest, passion and self-confidence.

Charani quickly established herself as a well-regarded match official making her debut as an A-Division Club Assistant Referee with fellow colleague Ayesha Perea during the 2023-2024 season.

Speaking on the appointment, SLSRFR President Dinka Peiris said: “This is a very proud day for rugby in Sri Lanka. We hope Charani will be a pathfinder for more females to take up rugby refereeing. In fact, our partnership with SAGT is committed to creating opportunities for many more females as rugby referees.”

“The partnership fosters pathways for women from all parts of the country to take up rugby refereeing on an equal opportunity and with potential towards economic self-determination,” he said.

He added, “I am sure all of Sri Lanka’s rugby stakeholders join me to wish Charani and others like her in the referee pipeline, all the very best”.


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