Refereeing is a critical element in judo development, especially in maintaining the integrity and fairness of competition judo at all levels.

Refereeing is challenging, rewarding and above all provides a great sense of satisfaction when taking charge of important matches. Refereeing helps equip people with life skills such as confidence and decisiveness, these attributes help referees in many other things they do.

Whether you want to referee at local competitions, area competitions or take charge of an Olympic final, there are refereeing roles available to suit most skill sets.

What does Refereeing involve?

The referee structure is made up of 8 levels, starting at club level and ending with International A licence level. The differing levels in combination with the ranking system makes gives the referees eligibility for progressively more challenging events to officiate at.

Referee’s duties include:

  • Responsibility of ensuring that the contest is fought within the rules of the sport at that particular level, awarding any applicable scores and penalties.
  • Working in a team of three with two judges who sit at the mat control table, the judges assist the referee and occasionally use technology to help them make decisions on difficult scenario’s (Care System).
  • The referees and judges are supported by the “Referee in Charge” who has overall responsibility for the refereeing at an event.
  • The “Referee in Charge” main duties are mat allocations, briefings, appeals and enquiry management.

Who does the role suit?

Referee roles are suited to appropriately experienced and graded athletes who are willing to support events at levels appropriate to their refereeing ability.

Refereeing is ideally suited to people who are good at fast and accurate decision making and take pride in staying abreast of the latest developments of competition judo.

British Judo offer through formal education courses the required education and training from the first level to the last. However, the EJU and IJF are the only ones authorised to facilitate final examinations at continental and international levels.

What skills are required to become a good Referee?

Referees need to be able to concentrate for long periods of time and have the clarity of thought to make accurate decisions quickly against prescribed criteria. Referees need a thorough understanding of the contest rules of judo in the varying environments they referee in and must be able to effectively demonstrate the correct application of those rules.

How can I get involved in Refereeing?

If you want to get involved in refereeing, you will need to be at least green belt and 12 years old, from then on you will have a whole career mapped out for you in refereeing.

You will need to attend a referee education course to develop your referee knowledge and ability, this will also include a theoretical examination. A practical examination will follow for those who are successful on their education and theory module.

You can find listings of BJA Level 1 Refereeing Courses on our Events Calendar