Officials are an essential part of sport. They make sure everyone plays by the rules, that the game is safe and that the spirit of the game/event is observed and enjoyed by all. They have no stake in the outcome of the game/event.
The term 'official' includes all persons who, by whatever designation, officiate on technical aspects at a sporting event, e.g., referee, umpire, judge, etc.
Recent statistics indicate that Australian sport faces a crisis, with a declining number of officials being recruited and/or retained. Abuse and lack of respect have been identified as major causes.
Although officials are the object of the abuse, they cannot drive reform, nor should they be expected to. Sporting clubs, coaches, players, parents, and spectators can all influence the experience of officials and contribute to their retention. Tips for management committees in supporting their club’s officials:
- Good Volunteer Management Practices: suggestions on how to recruit, manage and retain volunteers have been discussed. These strategies also are relevant for officials. They are volunteers that are providing their free time to help the club and as such need to be supported in their endeavours.
- Training: providing training opportunities for officials is vital. Training helps officials feel confident in what they are doing and contributes to effective officiating.
- Training can either be:
- Internal: utilising the skills of experienced officials within the club to assist beginner officials develop basic skills to help them officiate.
- External: encourage officials at all levels to continue their education by attending courses run by the Department of Sport and Recreation, State Sporting Associations and/or part of the National Officiating Accreditation Scheme.
- Ongoing support: one of the greatest fears of people just beginning as an official is whether they are doing the right thing and that they have no support. Providing a mentor official to guide and support beginner officials are a great way to make them feel at ease and at the same time ensure that their skills are enhanced.
- Promote philosophy: it is very important that the club has a clear philosophy in regards to the way they deliver sport and support officials. It is vital that these club philosophies are clearly promoted to players, coaches and parents. See information sheets below.
- Also, encouraging officials to sign a code of ethics will demonstrate to club members that your sport is committed to providing a safe and fair environment to participate in. An example of a code of ethics is included below.
- It is important that clubs put in place steps to ensure all their members are safe while participating in their chosen sport. Refer to the member protection information on this CD for further information.
- Insurance: it is vital that you ensure that your officials are covered by appropriate insurance. Those officials that are getting paid or receiving an honorarium may not be covered by insurance intended for volunteer officials.
- Databases: the Department of Sport and Recreation has a database for officials wishing to be kept up to date about courses and the latest research. Clubs are encouraged to register their individual officials or an officials’ coordinator each season.
Officials education program
Providing up-to-date information for officials is vital so they continue to improve and provide the best possible quality officiating.
As such, the Department of Sport and Recreation is committed to providing development opportunities across Western Australia.
The following opportunities are regularly made available to officials at all levels:
- Introduction to Officiating Seminars;
- Officiating General Principles Courses;
- Mentoring Course – how to improve officials around you;
- Presenters Course – if you are an official educator involved in presenting courses then this is for you;
- Assessors Course – as part of all accreditation in sport there is always an element of assessing people performance. If you are responsible for this in your sport then this course will provide the skills to greatly improve your skills;
- Annual Officials Awards Dinner;
Officials Breakfast Forums – a range of issues are covered in forums catering for all level of officials.
- Materials to recognise the great work officials do.
National Officiating Accreditation Scheme
The National Officiating Accreditation Scheme (NOAS) is a national education and training system for officials at all levels. For beginner officials in particular, it is a great opportunity to learn about officiating and also gain an industry-recognised qualification.
The NOAS has a vision that all Australian sporting participants, irrespective of their age, gender, level of sporting ability or choice of sport, have access to highly qualified and experienced officials.
The courses include the following components:
- General Principles – fundamentals of officiating and event management;
- Sport Specific – technical rules, interpretations, reporting and sport specific roles for officials;
- Officiating Practice – practical officiating and application of officiating principles.
Following NOAS accreditation, officials are required to fulfil updating requirements over a set period, as determined by their National Sporting Organisation, in order to keep their accreditation current.
Officiating, General Principles
The General Principles course equips the beginner official with appropriate officiating methods and the confidence to officiate at the introductory level of the sport.
Some sports include this in their courses while others encourage it to be completed externally before attending the sport specific course. To assist officials, DSR delivers this course regularly throughout the year.
The course consists of the following modules:
Module 1 – Legal Responsibilities and Risk Management for Sports Officials
Module 2 – Officiating Better: A Guide to Self Reflection for Sports Officials
Module 3 – People Management: Communication Skills for Sports Officials
Module 4 – People Management: Conflict Resolution for Sports Officials
Module 5 – Fitness and Recovery Training for Sports Officials
Cost $10 per module (incl GST)
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