Is it right that a referee badge upgrade rests on just one event? What if that event doesn’t come around again for a year?

A referee may be brilliant at one event and then drop that performance. Or a referee may have an injury niggle that’s just enough to get in the way of a badge upgrade.

The European Referee Commission thinks that a fundamental change is needed in how we look at upgrades.  We want to shift away from having an all or nothing approach at any single event and to instead award badges at the end of the season.

We think that helps reward consistency, strengthens the integrity of the badge system and gives referees flexibility around tournaments.  Referees must include certain events but there is also a lot of choice for the referee about which events they pick.  This helps referees who may have family commitments, injuries or other roles in the sport such as event administrator or coach.

Attending a broad range of events allows coaches to be spread more evenly around the European tournament circuit.  You don’t need loads of coaches to see you at one event – instead those coaches could be at a range of events.  That helps referees to understand and adopt coaching feedback and gives them time to practice and improve.

This is a significant shift for everyone but we are excited by the idea and the opportunities that it brings referees.


We have revised policy 4 LINK to show how all this works in practice but here’s a summary:

  • Level 1 and 2 badges retain broadly the same process as before.
  • Level 3,4 and 5 badges are awarded in October after a referee does a certain minimum number of events.


  1. Referee asks for National Referee Director (NRD) to endorse nomination for upgrade who then advises ERC. Referee agrees for EFT to hold data (to meet GDPR compliance).
  2. At each tournament, all qualified coaches who have assessed the referee will submit an online report to a secure ERC portal. Referees will have a fair idea as the season progresses whether they are refereeing at the relevant badge level.
  3. ERC convenes an Upgrade Panel in early October to determine upgrades and advises NDRs and referees accordingly.
  4. Badges are issued to the referee or NDR. NDRs are given discretion to present badges locally to celebrate achievement.


Will there be upgrade awards at Tournaments? Only for levels 1 and 2.  Levels 3+ will be decided by the ERC Panel in October and the relevant NDR informed.  We strongly encourage the NDR to arrange for an awards event to present badges and celebrate the achievement.

If I fail to get an upgrade in 2019, do I start from scratch in 2020? Technically no because you will have received a season’s worth of coaching in 2019.  The off-season should help you to reflect and improve to be better placed for 2020.

I’ve prepared to go for my Black badge at the World Cup and now it’s all changed.  We appreciate that this is last minute for refs in your situation so exceptionally we will give those attending the 2019 TWC the option to get their black there or to adopt the new policy.

I’m attending tournaments outside Europe. Can they be considered to count towards my upgrade?  As long as the tournament is of the required standard and the coaches are qualified to assess your level then the answer is yes.  Contact  to confirm as we will need to determine this on a case by case basis.

Do you have any other questions?  Let us know and we can add FAQs to this list.