World Rugby has today announced that Alhambra Nievas will take up a new full-time role as Referee Development Manager with the governing body. 

The Spaniard, who recently announced her retirement from refereeing, has extensive experience as a match official across both 15s and sevens and has been a regular on the HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series since 2014. 

Awarded the honour of refereeing the women’s gold medal match at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, Nievas subsequently went on to be the joint recipient of the World Rugby Referee Award at the World Rugby Awards later that year. 

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Recently she became the first match official to referee 100 women’s series matches at the HSBC Paris Sevens. 

Nievas has also had an impressive career officiating 15s, refereeing games in the Women’s Six Nations and Women’s Rugby World Cup, as well as men’s test matches. 

Appointed as an assistant referee for USA against Tonga in November 2016, she then took charge of Finland’s game against Norway in the Rugby Europe Conference 2 North in October 2017. 

As Referee Development Manager Nievas will be responsible for identifying and nurturing male and female referee talent in the regions for both 15s and sevens, reporting into World Rugby’s Sevens and 15s High Performance Match Official Managers Paddy O’Brien and Alain Rolland respectively. 

Nievas said: "I have had amazing experiences as a referee on the field, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I’m now looking forward to the new challenge of working off field, identifying new and emerging talent across all regions and unions. 

“It's an honour and I can't wait to discover the next generation of young and energetic referees, who will push the game forward."

World Rugby Match Officials Selection Committee Chairman Anthony Buchanan said: “Alhambra has had an exceptional career, successfully transitioning from playing at international level to becoming a world-renowned match official. We are thrilled to welcome her to the World Rugby family. She will be a real asset to the team, bringing a wealth of experience and she will have the opportunity to impart her extensive knowledge onto the next generation of up-and-coming match officials.”