Referee Grades

There are four grades of referee, 1, 2, 3, and 4, with grade 1 being the highest. There is also a ‘training’ grade, 1T, which is effective for up to two years. Grade 1T is given to suitable grade 2 referees who are training to become grade 1 referees. This is to enable them to referee at division 1 level to gain experience prior to their final assessment for grade 1. During the two year training period the 1T trainees are expected to pass the grade 1 written examination and to pass the requisite number of practical assessments. The table below sets out the minimum grade of referee required for the different levels of competition. The table also indicates the standard of game at which practical assessments can be carried out.

Referee grade Open division Women’s and youth division League division at which assessment can be done*
Grade 1 1 1
Grade 1T 1 1
Grade 2 2 1 3
Grade 3 3 2 4
Grade 4 4 3 Regional/open/international

Appointment of referees

Referees are appointed by the Chief Referee's Sub-Committee. For grade 3 and 4, any individual can apply for a place on a formal one day theory training course which will include a written examination, (currently in multiple choice format). Grade 3 and 4 are combined into one course and the level of award is dependant on the marks achieved. Entry to the grade 2 course is normally only open to grade 3 referees. Grade 2 is a separate course. Following successful completion of the theory course and after gaining sufficient practical experience, candidates will undergo a practical assessment carried out by a referee assessor at a suitable competition, (see Table A above). On passing the practical assessment the committee will appoint the referee to the appropriate grade. * note, assessments can be done at suitable weekend tournaments such as international tournaments, the game standard must be equal to the national league division shown in the table. Referees are appointed to grade 1T by the Chief Referee's Sub-Committee, on the recommendation of a grade 1 assessor. Grade 1T is only open to existing grade 2 referees who must also demonstrate the potential to become a grade 1 referee within two years. Any grade 2 referee can approach the committee to request an assessment for appointment to grade 1T. The committee and grade 1 assessors may also approach suitable candidates themselves. Grade 1T candidates must pass the grade 1 written examination within two years and also pass practical assessments carried out over three games by at least two different assessors. When these requirements have been met, the Chief Referee's Sub-Committee will appoint the candidate to Grade 1.

Practical Assessment

Assessments may only be carried out during competitive games at tournaments, not at club training sessions. The level of competition must be appropriate to the assessment being undertaken and is one level below the grade being sought (except for grade 1), for guidance see the table above. Candidates may not be assessed during games in which their own club is playing. Assessments are normally carried out over two games. If the theory course leader is also carrying out the practical assessment and a candidate is clearly of a high enough standard for grade 3 or 4 and their written examination results also indicate a high standard, then only one game may need to be assessed. All referees must undergo a practical re-assessment every two years to maintain their qualification. This will be carried out over two games at the appropriate grade, that is, open division one for a grade 1 referee, open division two for a grade 2 referee etc.

Referee Courses

Applicable for Grade 2,3,4. Courses are held each year for grade 2,3 and 4 referees. There are approximately 6 courses each year and they are held throughout the country. The courses are intended to be sequential. Grade 3 and 4 are combined into one course. The grade awarded depends on the score achieved in the written examination. Candidates who pass at grade 3 will move on to grade 2 next, candidates who pass at grade 4 will move on to grade 3 next. There is a limited possibility for fast tracking to grade 2 or 3. Fast track applications must be supported by a referee assessor of the appropriate grade and each case must be approved by the Chief Referee Sub-Committee. Applications should be made in writing (or e-mail) to the Referee Administrator. Courses are of one day duration and will cover the rules as appropriate to the grade followed by a written examination. Following the course successful candidates must arrange a practical assessment with an appropriate assessor. If your club wishes to host a course and is able to provide at least 12 attendees, an appropriate venue and meet the travel costs of the Course Leader, then the Referee Administrator will be able to provide you with details of a local Course Leader with whom to liaise for an appropriate date. Application for places on courses should be made to the referee administrator using the form at the rear of the yearbook. The form is also available in the website The date and location of courses is also advertised on this page. The rules are also available on the website.

Grade 1

The number of grade 1/1T candidates is in general too low to justify more than 1 formal course being set. The calibre of candidate required is very high. Prospective grade 1 referees will be assessed on a one to one basis by a grade 1 assessor. Grade 2 candidates who are considered to have the potential to become grade 1 referees within two years will be recommended to the Chief Referee Sub-Committee for appointment to grade 1T. This is an extension of grade 2, it is intended to allow the candidates to referee at division one specifically to gain experience before attempting assessment for grade 1. Grade 1T referees are expected to pass the grade 1 written examination and to pass three practical assessments by two assessors within the two year appointment. On successful completion of the above the assessors will recommend the candidate to the Chief Referee Sub-Committee for appointment to grade 1. Grade 1 referees are expected to be active at the highest level and will normally be expected to referee internationally on a regular basis. Note the written examination can be taken at any convenient time and place providing it is supervised by an assessor of any grade, the paper will be marked by a grade 1 assessor. Appointment of assessors and course leaders

Grade 2, 3 and 4

There is no formal course for assessor and course leader training. Appropriate candidates who are identified by the committee or by other assessors/leaders or who volunteer to become leaders or assessors will be allocated a mentor who will in effect train the candidate. The mentor will preferably be at a higher grade than that sought by the candidate, but may be the same grade. It is expected that the candidate will sit in on courses or assessments and then run courses or assessments under supervision until they reach a suitable standard. Once this is achieved the candidate will run a course or a minimum of two practical assessments whilst being assessed themselves. The assessor will be one grade higher than the level being sought by the candidate and must not be the candidate's mentor. Successful candidates will be recommended to the committee for appointment, logged evidence of the training and assessment undertaken will be expected. For grade 1 course leader and assessor candidates a mentor will be allocated. The candidates will work with the mentor developing their skills until an appropriate standard is achieved. This process will be continuously assessed by a grade 1 course leader. Once a suitable standard has been achieved the candidate will be recommended to the committee for appointment. (Note at this level it is expected that the candidate will be known to most if not all the course leaders in the country and to the committee who will be actively involved in the approval of any recommended appointment).

Continuation of appointment

It is not practical to fully re-assess course leaders. Their continued appointment will be confirmed when their 2 yearly referee re-assessment’s are carried out. In order to maintain their appointment they must maintain their referee status. Leaders and assessors fulfil an essential and important role in setting and maintaining the standard of refereeing. It is important that they keep up to date with rule changes and interpretation and that they continue to strive to maintain or improve their own skills and knowledge. If the Sub-Committee feel that a course leader or assessor's rule interpretation or knowledge has fallen below the required standard then refresher training may be recommended or removal from the list. Practical assessors will be re-assessed every two years normally when they have their referee re-assessment

 Print  Email