Officials are an essential part of sport who make a valuable contribution by facilitating a respectful, appreciative and supportive environment for everyone participating including spectators.

Officiating in sport and recreation

The department coordinates a number of programs, workshops, accredited courses and scholarships to provide ongoing support and development for officials.

Officials are an essential part of sport. They should be given an opportunity to make a valuable contribution to sport by learning new skills through education, training and mentoring. It is important to create a respectful, appreciative and supportive environment for everyone participating, including spectators.

Who are officials?

An official is someone who controls the actual play of a competition (for example umpire, referee or judge) and administers the rules and laws of the sport to ensure the proper conduct of a sporting fixture in a safe environment.

The department's position on officials

Why we need officials

An official ensures that the athletes and participants are abiding by the rules and playing in the spirit of the game. They are also there to ensure the game/event is observed and enjoyed by all.

Benefits of being an official

  • enjoyment and satisfaction
  • career path
  • development to elite level
  • potential for financial rewards
  • personal development
  • fitness and health
  • social interaction
  • opportunity to travel
  • opportunity for parents or partners to be involved in sport.

Officials require but are not limited to the following skills:

  • decision-making
  • interpersonal communications
  • people management
  • knowledge of the rules
  • understanding of the game
  • appropriate level of fitness
  • sense of humour
  • courage and confidence.

Becoming a sports official

All you need is an interest in sport and a willingness to be involved. If you would like more information about becoming an official in your sport contact your State Sporting Association.

Funding and scholarships for officials

The department offers training and programs to assist the development of officials and supports State Sporting Associations by providing the resources and investments. For more information on funding, scholarship and programs specific to your sport contact your State Sporting Association.

Resources for officials

Australian Sports Commission officials resources

The Australian Sports Commission (ASC) offers a wide variety of training programs and resources to assist officials to develop in their role. Many of these are facilitated by the department.

Sport Australia information for officials

Play by the Rules logo

Tools and tips

Play by the Rules provides information and online learning about how to prevent and deal with discrimination, harassment and child abuse for the sport and recreation industry.

Unconscious Bias and Faulty Thinking presentation

Presented by Alistair Box from Total Leader and Coach Solutions.

More information

Manager Sport Business Engagement
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries

Telephone 61 8 6552 7300

Page reviewed 07 September 2022