Referee Duties and Responsibilities

Oversee Games

The primary role of a Referee is to make sure that all players are following the rules of the game they are officiating. A Referee will explain regulations as needed and ensure that all participants understand these rules. Referees make calls regarding when these rules are broken and assess penalties. Referees will stop games as is necessary to review plays 

Track Time of Events

In most cases, games or sporting competitions play out over a determined amount of time. It is typically up to the Referee to indicate the start and end of a game and to keep track of the time throughout the event. It is up to the Referee to decide if a game needs more than the allotted time to complete.

Inspect Equipment

Referees will usually inspect equipment to make sure that it all meets the specifications of the organizations in which the games are being played. This might include checking the pressure of balls in football games or the types of bats used in Little League games. They will also inspect equipment to ensure it meets all safety standards.


Referee Skills

Working in a fast-paced environment, Referees need to have an eye for detail and possess secure verbal communication, decision-making, and leadership skills. They should be able to resolve conflicts efficiently and utilize above-average customer service skills. Referees should be energetic and have the physical ability to be on their feet for long periods, as they will be standing, walking, and even running during sporting events. In addition to these general skills, a Referee could be expected by potential employers to possess the following skills.

Core skills: Based on job listings and other resources we looked at, employers want Referees with these core skills. If you're going to work as a Referee, focus on the following.

  • Possessing full knowledge of various sports rules and regulations
  • Enforcing laws
  • Assessing penalties
  • Examining sports equipment for compliance and safety adherence

Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings and related sources included them as preferred. Add these to your Referee toolbox and broaden your career options.

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