What Are the Different Types of Referee Qualifications?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 30 November 2019
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The different types of referee qualifications can include being in good physical health, holding an official referee license, and previous sports experience. Becoming a referee can be a physically demanding job, and interested individuals should maintain good health between sports matches. Licenses in different sports are often available from regional athletic governing bodies for these types of positions. Applicants should always be familiar with the rules of the sport for which they are seeking a license, and have had some experience playing the game and solving critical difficult situations which can arise over disputed rules.

A referee is an individual who oversees a game played in a particular sport. He ensures that the rules of the game are followed, and that all participants behave fairly and treat one another with a certain amount of respect. This type of position can be challenging physically, requiring that the referee move from one end of the sports field to another quickly so that he may follow the play action visually. One of the most primary referee qualifications, therefore, is good physical health and strong stamina. Applicants who suffer from chronic joint paint, frequent injuries, or are easily winded are not strong candidates to become referees.


Some positions may require that interested applicants hold a referee license. This type of license is typically given out by the local region in which the applicant lives, and is unique to each kind of sport. For example, one referee may be licensed in his local area to referee soccer, basketball, and football, but is not licensed or qualified to oversee a field hockey game. If the referee moves to another area, such as another state or country, he generally must obtain a new license.

Licensure often consists of attending several classes, completing a written exam, and refereeing a certain number of games in a particular sport. Employers are frequently compelled to hire only licensed referees to oversee youth and adult games held in their facilities to avoid certain types of insurance liabilities in case of an accident. Regardless of the number of additional referee qualifications one applicant may possess, he may not be eligible for hire without a license.

Certain types of sports experience can also be valuable as a form of referee qualifications. In addition to officiating the rules of the sport being played, the referee may also be asked to operate an electronic score board and resolve conflicts between rivaling team members. Individuals can obtain these types of experience early in their sports careers without holding an official license by participating in local youth and minor sports leagues.


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