Referees or umpires officiate at sporting events, observing the actions of participants to ensure that the sport is played within the rules. They use personal experience and knowledge of a sport, together with the framework of established guidelines and rules, to resolve disputes.

In many sporting codes ‘electronic eyes’ or video cameras are now used to assist the referee in making decisions, such as at tennis matches. Referees’ decisions are generally regarded as the final word in sporting events and, in certain sports such as soccer, cricket and rugby, serious penalties are inflicted on players who question or challenge referees.

Depending on the level of sport being officiated, be it amateur or professional, referees and umpires may only do this part-time and hold down other jobs between matches, as the role of referee may not be paid in amateur sport.


Sport controlling bodies and associations

Getting Started

  • familiarize yourself with the rules of the sport or sports of your interest

  • observe games carefully, particularly the referees

  • try to obtain volunteer, vacation or part-time work in a recreation centre as a referee, umpire or sports coach

  • arrange to speak to a referee about this career


Tshwane University of Technology

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