How to Become a Badminton Referee?


The game of badminton originated more than 2000 years ago. In the 17th century, it was called ‘Battledore and Shuttlecock’ in some European countries, including England. A similar version of badminton was known as ‘Poona’ in 19th century India. The modern sport of badminton is played worldwide and organized in over a hundred countries via hundreds of games-related associations. In the UK alone, there are 74 certified badminton clubs and 36 recognized associations.

Badminton officials qualifications

How to Become a Badminton Referee?

If you want to officiate badminton as a referee, you need to get the requisite training. The training generally begins at the local level and then you are expected to receive further training with the regional, state, and national associations respectively.

Selection Criteria for Certified Referees

The selection process for a badminton referee is more or less the same for every association. An aspiring referee is required to know about the laws of badminton so that he/she can interpret the same to other referees during a game. The referees should be aware of the rules and regulations of the badminton court including the game equipment, toss and scoring criteria, penalties for player misconduct, etc. Glance through the following points to know about the selection criteria at different levels:

  1. Learn about the updated laws of Badminton as given by the Badminton World Federation Annual General Meeting of May 15th, 2010.
  2. Study the badminton scenario of your city/town and join some local badminton club. For instance, USA Badminton (USAB) puts up the list of approved badminton clubs that you may join at local levels.
  3. After completing the training at a local badminton club, follow up with a relevant course at a national or regional level association. This will make you eligible for officiating badminton at these levels.
  4. Once you have acquired training at all the required levels, take the assessment for becoming a certified referee. Such as, in the UK, you need certification from the Badminton Referees Association of England. After 24 months of application, you will receive your certification.
  5. For competing at higher levels, it is recommended that you compile your ‘yearly work record’ containing the details of the tournaments and places where you performed as a referee. This data needs to be submitted to the accrediting association. A referee is usually nominated or proposed by the national associations for selection to international sports events.

If you are a beginner in this sport – please see the video and learn basic about this sport:

Selection Process for International Referees

Badminton World Federation (BWF) is a world-level governing body for badminton that has recognition from the International Olympic Committee (IOC). This federation holds major international tournaments including the popular Thomas Cup. BWF acknowledges two categories of referees namely, BWF Accredited Referee/Umpire and BWF Certificated Referee/Umpire. Competition generally gets tougher at these levels.

The number of main events of BWF is decided by the Sports Council and Committee. After the nominations have been made, the Sports Committee Chair and BWF unanimously agree as to which referees are to be chosen for events. The ultimate selection also depends upon the format of the competition and other factors like financial resources.

The Continental Confederations of the BWF is the higher-most level of badminton. It consists of Asia, Africa, Oceania, Europe, and Pan American Confederations. These continental bodies suggest the best referees, and reserves some others, according to the quotas allotted by the BWF. The nominations are further arranged in priority order, after which the advice of senior referees is sought. Following the finalization and approval of the nominees by the Sports Committee and BWF Council respectively, invitations are sent to the selected referees.

Things to Remember

  • Always keep yourself updated with the changes made in the regulations concerning the game and its equipment. A referee’s duty is to ensure that all the regulation standards are met in the court.
  • The age criterion of Badminton Europe is different than that of BWF. While Badminton Europe allows a referee’s assessment until the age of 55 years, BWF doesn’t permit such an assessment if the referee is above 50 years of age.
  • Besides, all the technical officials of BWF are required to stick to a stringent code of conduct. For instance, if a referee is inactive for two consecutive years in any association, he/she stands eliminated from the official list.

Eventually, you need to stay dedicated to the game, connect well with the association officials, and take part in the organizational affairs at your officiating levels.

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