Richard Silverwood, Rugby League’s longest serving full time referee has been suspended pending an internal investigation.

Silverwood has not refereed a match since the Super League ‘Magic Weekend’ in Newcastle last month and a spokesman for Rugby Football League said that he can “confirm Richard Silverwood is suspended pending the outcome of an internal investigation”.

Silverwood, who refereed the World Cup final in 2013, was the Super League’s youngest official when he took charge of his first game in 2001 at the age of 24.

However, this suspension is not the first in his career after he was dropped following an off-field incident at a match between Huddersfield and Leeds in 2011 and that was two years after he was suspended for what the RFL called an alleged breach of its information technology policy.

Silverwood is not the only person under suspension at the moment. An RFL spokesman said that Sam Ansell, who is also on the RFL’s nine-strong full time panel of match officials is also suspended pending the outcome of an investigation.

RFL’s match officials director Steve Ganson has recently blooded a host of inexperienced referees in Jack Smith, Chris Kendall, Michael Woodhead and Chris Campbell.

Chris Campbell was fast-tracked onto the full time panel just one month after taking charge of his first Super League match while the part timer Gareth Hewer took charge of one of the weekend’s Challenge Cup quarter finals.

It is not known why the referees have been suspended by details are likely to emerge once the investigations have been concluded.

In other news the Warrington centre Ryan Atkins is facing a three match ban after being charged with making a dangerous tackle against Widnes full back Rhys Hanbury. He is accused of using his body to “forcefully to bend or apply unnecessary pressure to the head and/or neck and/or spinal column of the tackled player.