#273 Plan for the future and don't worry about what is said about you outside of the sport with Karl Dickson
Karl began his refereeing qualifications in January 2014 and continued to play for Harlequins while gaining experience officiating. This was made possible by the fact he never made the starting XV.
Through the London Society of Referees he made his refereeing debut at the Reigate School 7s in March 2014 and since then has taken charge of a range of matches including schools, club juniors, sevens as well as local and national league clubs.
Karl has refereed two A League semi-finals, Exeter v Newcastle in 2016 and Gloucester v Wasps in 2017 and made his debut in the Greene King IPA Championship in the Christmas Eve match between London Irish and Richmond. Three days later he was involved in Big Game 9 where Harlequins played Gloucester in the Aviva Premiership at Twickenham.
After 169 appearances for Harlequins scrum-half Dickson announced his retirement in April and joins the Rugby Football Union's Professional Game Match Officials Team (PGMOT).
"Over the last two years any time that I have had - a free Saturday or Sunday or even during the week - I would referee as many games as possible to get as much practice as I could. Every game you learn something new and gain increasing match sharpness.
"I would always encourage players to plan for when they retire and the fact that I’ve been refereeing for three years already puts me in a position where I can look forward to starting with the team next season and, having refereed in a Championship game this year, hopefully officiate more at that level. I wouldn't have this opportunity unless I started when I did."
In an interview to Rugby Players Association, he said refereeing at international level was his "main goal".
A goal reached when in October 2020, Karl was appointed as the main referee in a friendly game between France and Wales, in the Stade de France.