Interested in becoming an Official?
Officials – who needs them? Just about anyone who is trying to run an athletics club or organise an athletics meeting needs officials. Not only to understand and apply the rules ensuring a fair competition, but importantly, to ensure a safe competition, both for athletes, officials and spectators . Athletes need to relax – happy in the knowledge that the competition is being run under conditions fair and safe to all – to produce their best on the day.
Every qualified official had to start somewhere, usually by offering their services at a League or Open meeting. You would not be expected to work alone, but as part of a team. Whether it’s on the field, judging track races, being a timekeeper, a starter/starter’s assistant or photo finish operator why not come along to a meeting and give officiating a go? There is nothing to stop you trying all the different areas of officiating to see which you enjoy the most.
Not only will you get the satisfaction of officiating at disability events, but also the fun at QuadKids!
It is far better to gain experience as an assistant before attending a course. Most clubs have an Officials’ Secretary who will arrange for you to contact one of the club’s officials who will be happy to show you what to do and arrange for you to gain experience.
So, next time you are aware that assistance is required, please volunteer! Come into officiating – it’s fun, friendly very rewarding, and you will always feel wanted!
See the England Athletics web page below for full details on becoming a licenced official and progression:
The rules are laid down in the UKA Rules for Competition book (free to Association Members) which is published biennially and covers meetings at all levels of competition throughout the UK, whilst the International Association Athletics Federations (IAAF) Handbook (also biennial) lays down the rules that apply to International meetings. ESAA also publish Rules of Competition, and members can download these from this website.
Health and Safety
It is a requirement of gaining your UKA officials’ licence that you have attended a Health and Safety course. To provide a safe environment for track and field events it is necessary to identify hazards, assess the associated potential risks, and take action to eliminate the hazard, or failing this reduce them to an acceptable level.
This course covers risk assessment and its practical implications for track and field officials, common safety problems facing officials, together with the procedures to be followed in the case of an accident or serious incident.
You only have to attend once but you may choose to keep yourself updated if that was a while ago. England Athletics manage the H&S courses in the South.
Safeguarding and DBS
To become a licenced official, everyone in athletics who has significant contact with children and/or vulnerable adults is required to have a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check. As a volunteer this is free, and initiated as part of going on a course and having a profile created for you by England Athletics.
These are listed below to run the specific events, and officials can restrict themselves to one discipline, or become qualified in any number:
Other roles are also required to ensure the smooth running of the meeting, including: Ancillary, Technical Team & Management
Ready for Your First Competition?
As an official (whether licensed or not) it is wise to arrive at meetings early – one hour prior to start if possible (especially if you are a field judge), but at least half an hour in advance of the first track or field event. Report to the meeting organiser or representative from the promoting club and ensure that your name is on the list of officials for that meeting. At league meetings when with a club they should declare you as an official – check!
You should then seek out the appropriate Referee (Track, Field, Chief Timekeeper or Chief Starter) – the meeting organiser should be able to tell you who this is (or wait by the stands at the finish line if on the track or timekeeping). You may receive a typed/hand-written Duty Sheet or merely a verbal instruction to assist at a specific event at a given time. If you are inexperienced, you should tell the referee, who may then pair you with a more experienced colleague. If you are not sure what to do, please do ask; other officials will be only too happy to help.
The usual ‘uniform’ for officials is a white polo shirt, and navy trousers, with black shoes. A navy top is useful for cold weather, sun block for any sunny weather, and a full set of warm waterproofs is also handy for the English summer!
Books, Clothing and Equipment
Email the membership secretary using the form below to order.
How to Judge Field Events” book
Non-Member price is £9.00
Member price £5.00
Pens are available in Black, Blue or Red at £2.00 each for members to purchase. Prices include postage. Please state colour required when ordering.
These need to be ordered direct from suppliers.
Laserware clipboards available at 10% discount to SEAOA members – use code SEAOA on Laserware website. Waterproof clipboards also available from Weatherwriter website. Other waterproof clipboards also available on eBay and elsewhere online.
Navy Waterproofs – Made to Measure
- Jacket extension. This can be used as a skirt, but it is not shaped. Remember to specify length.
- Leggings. For the uninitiated these are separate legs!
- Leggaiters. Leggings with integral gaiters. Useful if you use walking boots.
footnote: Available from Houghwood House, Red Barn Road, Wigan, WN5 7UA . Telephone: 01744 894 435
Please use the form below to contact us