Who Is An Umpire/Referee?

Umpires, referees, and other sports officials supervise competitive sporting fixtures and ensure that the rules of the game are adhered to. As an umpire, you would be actively involved in the sporting discipline in which you specialise and will have the power to take decisions on the events during the course of a game and also award penalties for a violation of rules or disciplinary issues.

Sometimes, umpires and other sports officials go on to become very famous and popular personalities because of their performance quality and involvement in high profile sporting events.


Roles & Responsibilities


Officiating sporting events to maintain rules and regulations in order. The primary task of an umpire is to make sure that all the rules related to the sport are abided by and any indiscipline is noted and promptly addressed by the umpire. For example, it is the responsibility of the umpire to judge a ball as “wide”, in cricket, if it is thrown wayward by the bowler to the batsman.


Keeping track of time. Most sports events are time-bound and it is the responsibility of the umpire to keep a track of the same. He/she may be required to keep track of time wastage as well and add up the same at the end of the regulation time of the match.


Acting as the first respondent in case of emergencies. The umpire has to respond promptly in cases of emergencies and take decisions regarding the progress of the match. In incidents like player injury, pitch invasion by spectators etc, the umpire can decide to postpone or abandon the match.


Inspecting players and equipment before and during a sporting event. The umpire has to ensure that the players and their playing equipment are in order. For example, an umpire has to ensure that a cricket ball is not tampered with or a footballer is not playing with boot nails.


Coordinating with team managers, coaches, other sporting officials etc. The umpire is the primary point of contact in regard to the match for sports administrators and officials as well as for personnel from participating teams such as the coaches and their staff.


Reporting to adequate authorities on the match or any complaints that arose during its course. In case of complaints like racism or violence, the umpire has to report the same to the governing body based on which action against the offender is taken.

Take the Mentoria career assessment, to find out how well-suited you are as a Umpire/Referee.

What Skills Will I Need To Have To Do This Job Well?

As exciting as this sounds, there are some things you’ll need to learn to do the job right:


The umpire must be able to exercise judgment during the course of the sporting event. It is a skill that goes beyond the knowledge of rules and years of experience. It is an instinctive ability to read the situation and judge it promptly and correctly.


The umpire should be well-versed in the rules of the game. During the course of the game, the umpire is required to ensure that the rules of the game are adhered to and should be able to refer to the same as and when required.


The umpire should be good in communication skills as this job requires a great deal of interaction with people. The umpire has to interact with the players as well as with coaching staff in some games. The umpire should, therefore, be good at communicating his thoughts to the players to keep the game in order. A boxing referee, for instance, has to regularly intervene to keep the combat within the rules.


An umpire should be courageous and not get intimidated. Competitive sports often bring out the aggressive side of sportsmen and coaches and in such circumstances, a timid umpire may get undermined by the players and coaches. It is therefore important for the umpire to show courage and stand behind his/her decision in the face of vociferous opposition.


The umpire has to make key decisions during the match and do so promptly. Whether it is showing a red card to a footballer or deciding to use video assistance, the umpire has to take the decision within a short span of time.


The umpire should be able to remain calm and steady in extremely stressful situations. Sometimes the stakes could be very high in matches like a World Cup final or a Super Bowl and the pressure can impact the decision-making of a person. The umpire, however, has to be able to handle such pressure and make the correct decisions in spite of it.


In many sports, the umpire needs to be physically fit. In sports, like hockey and football, the umpire needs to run and jog throughout the course of the match and he/she needs to be fit in order to be able to conduct the game efficiently.

What Will My Workplace Look Like?

Umpires, referees, and other sports officials might need to work indoors and outdoors depending on where the sport is played. Officiating outdoors would involve exposure to all types of weather conditions. Umpires need to travel to sporting events, especially those officiating professional sports often travel long distances. Some sports require the umpire to run, sprint, or jog during the course of the match.

Umpires work odd hours, including evenings, weekends, and holidays. Umpiring can be a part-time job as well. However, at higher levels of a sport, the compensation encourages umpires to take it up as a full-time profession.


What Is My Scope For Career Growth As An Umpire/Referee?

Employment of umpires, referees, and other sports officials has been increasing, at least at the top level. Due to ever bulging broadcasting revenue and with the advent of franchise model in most sports, the demand for quality umpires has increased. Depending on the sports for which the umpire officiates, the scope of employment depends on the level of organization that the sport itself has. Football in England, for example, runs into several tiers of national and local leagues which in turn means many teams and matches between them which need officiating. Cricket in India also has good grass root level presence involving multiple layers and matches.  The career graph can be very promising for a good umpire. By demonstrating good umpiring skills an umpire can rise from officiating a district-level match to the World Cup. Umpires also get the opportunity to be part of sport administration panels or become administrators themselves.

Thinking of a career as an Umpire/Referee? Take the Mentoria assessment & talk to our career counsellors to get personalized step-by-step guidance for your future career path. 

How Much Will I Get Paid?

The exact number will depend on the level at which the umpire participates, but we can give you a general idea.

An umpire at the top level earns a very respectable amount of compensation. A FIFA referee earns more than INR 3,000,000 for participating in the month-long World Cup while those officiating the 9-month long English Premier league (football) earned over INR 4,500,000 in 2016. Indian Premier League umpires pocketed around INR 100,000 for every cricket match last year. Even umpiring in domestic leagues in India can bring in INR 20,000 per day for umpiring.

Okay, I'm sold. This is amazing

4-Step Career Roadmap
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STEP 1: Class XI-XII/Junior College

There is no specific formal education for umpires. A junior college qualification and adequate knowledge of the sport and its rules can get you into umpiring.


STEP 2: Graduate Degree

Most sports at a higher level of competition prefer their umpires to be at least graduates.

STEP 3: Training/Certification

Training and certification are driven by the administering body that controls the sports. To be a cricket umpire in India therefore, you have to register for the course provided by the Board of Cricket Control of India. Similar are the several types of coaching badges that the English football association offers.

STEP 4: Land a Job

Once you are equipped with the right certification, you get enlisted as an umpire and can be called upon by sports organisers to officiate matches.
Congratulations, you are now officially an Umpire!

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