Jon Sharp is poised to return to coaching at Featherstone Rovers after leaving his post as head of match officials at the Rugby Football League.
The 38-year-old former Hull FC and Featherstone forward, who took Huddersfield to the Challenge Cup final in 2006, joined the governing body four years ago, initially as a technical advisor before taking over as controller of referees.
He is now set to be appointed by Featherstone as the successor to Andy Hay, who parted company with the promotion-chasing Championship club in the wake of last Sunday’s 32-30 home defeat asgainst Dewsbury Rams.
Sharp spent four and a half years in charge of the Giants, a spell sandwiched by the tenures of Australians Tony Smith and Nathan Brown, and was also assistant coach to Great Britain boss Brian Noble from 2003-06.
He had a brief spell as advisor to caretaker coach Danny Evans at Featherstone after leaving Huddersfield in 2008 and had stints at Hull and Crusaders before moving to the RFL.
Sharp said: “The last three and a half years have been some of the most rewarding of my career and I am pleased that I had the opportunity to work alongside a group of match officials whose professionalism and expertise is world class.
“Just as the sport has made the most of the opportunities that have emerged from the new era, I have no doubt that the Rugby League Match Officials will build on the high standards that we have set.”
The RFL says it will consider the implications of Sharp’s departure and how the role will be replaced in the coming weeks.
RFL chief operating officer Ralph Rimmer said: “We would like to thank Jon for his contribution in what has been an exciting period of transition for the game.
“As a former player and first team coach, Jon brought a fresh perspective to the Match Officials department and has played an important role in the development of the sport’s referees and touch-judges at the elite level.
“Jon leaves with our best wishes.”