A Referee or Umpire enforces the rules and regulations during a sports match. They often work with assistant referees and umpires to make decisions throughout a match. The Referee has the power to overrule decisions made by their assistants. Ultimately, their word is final. They decide when to stop and start play, impose disciplinary action and rule on breaches of the laws of the game. They must maintain a safe, fair environment at all times. Confidence, assertiveness and fairness are essential.

At the elite level, a Referee works with a video assistant referee (VAR). For decisions where there is no obvious solution, they may refer to video technology such as Hawkeye to get a second look at the incident. They can reassess the incident and then make a final decision.


Elite Referees need excellent fitness to do their job to the required standard. Keeping up with top-level sport is no easy job. To referee at the elite level, Referees must pass a series of tests each season. These include repeated sprint ability and interval tests.


Each sporting federation has its own qualifications that all prospective Referees or Umpires must take. Once qualified, a Referee or Umpire must produce consistently good performances in matches to move up through the levels.


It’s impossible to start refereeing at an elite level. All candidates must start at the bottom level – usually youth – and work their way up, learning on the job. Playing experience in the sport is beneficial but not essential.


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