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Free world-class training being developed for community sport officials

09 June 2023

Australia’s one million community sport officials will soon have access to free world-class training and education being developed by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC).

Headshot of Claire
Cricket Australia NSW Umpire Claire Polosak was among 200 people who attended the 2023 ASC Coaching and Officiating Conference on the Gold Coast last month and is a big advocate of the new approach. Photo: Getty Images

Umpires and referees are vital to community sport, and the implementation of a new education approach will help transform the role of sport officials which has largely been unchanged since the General Principles of Officiating course was developed in 2000.

Over the last few months, the ASC has been working closely with national sporting organisations to modernise the officiating profession, with the new education and training focused on helping officials build a positive rapport with their participants through creating fun, safe and inclusive environments.

ASC CEO Kieren Perkins OAM said a reinvigorated focus on sport officiating will benefit millions of Australians.

“Our dedicated community sport officials, the majority of which are volunteers, play such a critical role that can sometimes be overlooked,” said Mr Perkins.

“It’s not just about enforcing the rules of a sport, our umpires and referees are there to engage and educate the participants while ensuring sport is accessible and inclusive for everyone to be involved.”

ASC’s Director of Coaching and Officiating Cameron Tradell said the sports sector has welcomed the move to modernise community officiating education and is eager to get the ball rolling.

“We have met with 36 sports in the last month including Australian Rules Football, Cricket, Netball and Wheelchair Basketball to gain a deeper understanding on the current officiating landscape," said Mr Tradell.

“While it was clear that every sport has its unique challenges and needs, there was strong agreement that a new approach to sport officiating has the power to transform the Australian sports sector for the better."

“Some sports are facing a critical shortage of officials while others are struggling to keep them involved in the game. Through empowering and educating our umpires and referees we can expect to see not just a boost in recruitment and retention, but also a major boost in morale.”

The ASC has set up a dedicated working group of sport officials to help drive the implementation of the new officiating approach, ahead of the launch of the new free online Community Officiating Essential Skills course later in 2023.

The development of the new officiating education, follows the successful launch of the ASC’s modern coaching approach, which has changed the face of community coaching in more than 50 sports since launching 12 months ago.

The ASC’s free online Community Coaching Essential Skills course has already been completed by more than 50,000 community coaches.

Last week, more than 200 staff from 54 sporting organisations came together for the 2023 ASC Coaching and Officiating Conference on the Gold Coast to delve deeper into the current gaps and opportunities in community sport.

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