Meet The Referee – Bill Taggart

Name: Bill Taggart

Club: Shinsei Judo Club


What is your judo background?

I started judo in 1979 as part of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme, initially at my school then moving to a club in Belfast where I was coached by Derek Harpur. I continued to train there until I joined the Royal Engineers in 1981 and became part of the team competing at many events. I am a 5th Dan, Level 2 coach, Hon IJF B Referee, Chair of the National Refereeing Commission, Senior Examiner, and former Chair of the NIJF and BJA Board of Directors.

Where are you in your refereeing journey?

I am at the pinnacle of my referee career having been awarded my Hon IJF B in 2016 and have been Chairing the National Refereeing Commission since Dec ’15, I am also a National B Referee Tutor and Assessor.

What has been your favourite moment as a referee?

My favourite part of refereeing was getting the opportunity as a National A Referee to take part in the Glasgow Veteran European Open 2018, working alongside some of the best referees in Europe and representing Great Britain, another moment was being elected to lead the National Refereeing Commission

What do you love most about refereeing?

The thing I love most about refereeing is the people who make the sport, my fellow referees and table officials, the players and of course the coaches who all come together to make our sport what it is.

What are your ambitions in refereeing?

My ambition is to always be the best that I can be at every event I attend, being professional to those around me and having respect for everyone, to ensure that all our referees are given the chance to be the best they can be and give support from the bottom to the top and to get at least one of our referees onto an Olympic mat, as big ask I know but with the current referees we have in GBR I have no doubt we will have one there in the future.

What advice do you have for anyone wanting to be a referee?

Just step onto the mat and do it, you won’t look back, be the best that you can be, smile and enjoy the journey

What three words best describe refereeing to you?

Professional, honest and fair

Want to start your refereeing journey? Find out more here