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Managing Referees

Managing Referees

Referees play a vital role in the on-field management of our sport. As volunteers, recruitment and retention of Referees is an area which each affiliate and competition often identify as one of the higher priority areas. Referee recruitment and retention is also one of the greatest challenges that confront new and established affiliates across Australia.


TFA has a comprehensive education and development scheme in place to train and improve the standard of referees across the country. The National, State and Regional Referee Panels have members with the highest possible qualifications across the refereeing arm, as referees, course presenters and referee coaches who can assist your affiliate with referee recruitment, retention and management. They can assist with the referee courses, assessing referees & coaching referees.

So how can you recruit and manage referees at your affiliate?

Referee Course

One of the most effective ways of creating your referee pool is to make it a requirement of entry for each competition that one or two members of each team attend a Level One Referees Course hosted by your Affiliate. The cost of the course should be built into the competition entry fee. When advertising the Level One Referees Course, you should endeavour to make it clear that the course is simply not about the rules. It covers a range of topics designed to prepare each new referee for the challenge of officiating in their first game.

Duty Referees

Another option currently utilised by many affiliates and competitions is allowing the use of duty referees for a minimum period during the season (with no formal accreditation) then targeting these individuals to conduct the training required. Once you have a pool of referees, it needs to be maintained and expanded.

A simple way to employ the Duty Referee system is by placing all teams on a Duty Roster. Teams must fulfil their Duty Requirements to maintain competition points.

Rugby League & Other Sports Referees.

Touch Football is generally play mid-week or in the off season of most traditional winter sports such as Rugby League & Rugby Union. Approach local Referee Associations from other sports to keep their members fit and active throughout the off-season or midweek.

How to best manage your Referees?

There is no hard and fast way to manage referees though some tips in managing your referees are:

  • Appoint a Director of Referees (see position description below) to manage your referees (this does not necessarily need to be a high-level referee)
  • Communicate effectively with your referees through a Facebook page, whatsapp groups, email or similar.
  • Send out Referee appointments prior to competition day. This will assist with accountability
  • Organise social events for referees
  • If you pay your referees ensure they are aware of what they are being paid and when they will be paid.

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