Officials are an integral part of sports. As the judicator of competition, it is important for officials to develop and increase their sporting knowledge by learning new skills through education, training and mentoring. An official’s sole purpose is to maintain a fair, safe and enjoyable environment for all participants, including spectators.  

Who are officials

An official is any person who controls the play of competition by applying the rules and laws of the sport to make judgments on rule infringement, performance, time or score. This involves an obligation to perform with accuracy, consistency, objectively and the highest integrity. This includes; referees, umpires, scorers, timekeepers, judges, starters, linesman, commissaires, marshal’s and technical, meet and competition director’s etc..

What does an official do

Officials are essential to performing the following duties:

  • officiate sporting events, games, and competitions
  • judge performances in sporting competitions to determine a winner
  • inspect sports equipment and examine all participants to ensure safety
  • keep track of event times, starting or stopping play when necessary
  • signal participants and other officials when infractions occur or to regulate play or competition
  • settle claims of infractions or complaints by participants
  • enforce the rules of the game and assess penalties when necessary 

Why do we need officials

Officials are needed to preserve the integrity of a sporting competition. They oversee a contest to ensure that all participants are maintaining the standard of play according to the rules of the competition.

Benefits of being an official

There are several benefits of being an official;

  • Build confidence and increase game knowledge
  • Chance to be involved with a sport and local community
  • Engage in social interaction
  • Learn personal development skills
  • Maintain your health and fitness
  • Opportunity to travel
  • Personal enjoyment and satisfaction
  • Possible career path into elite level officiating
  • Potential to earn financial rewards

Benefits of becoming accredited

By becoming accredited and a member of the association you’ll be covered by the member organisations insurance policies.

Abide by, and covered by the policies of the member organisation and/or national sporting organisation.

Have insurance to cover both if a claim is made against you and also to cover medical expenses or lost income if you are injured.

Many associations have insurance that will cover an official (both claims against the official and claims by the official).  Find out what insurance cover there is so that you can determine whether or not you wish to take out additional insurance.

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Last updated: 06 January 2017