Officiating in sport
The Territory Sports Academy (TSA) coordinates a number of officiating programs, and services to:
- assist Northern Territory (NT) Peak Sporting Bodies (PSB's) in the development of NT Officials
- provide advice and support to PSB's
- promote the importance and value of officiating to the greater community
- develop officiating coaches/educators/mentors
- connecting officiating stakeholders across the NT.
Officials are an integral part of sports. PSB’s need to develop their officials via education, training, coaching and mentoring. An official’s main purpose is for a fair, safe and enjoyable environment for all participants.
TSA Officiating Development grant
The TSA Officiating Development grant is available to NT Peak Sporting Bodies. The Officiating Development grant is a key strategy of the Workforce Development Plan to provide ongoing support and investment in the development and retention of officials in the NT.
In the 2021–22 financial year, there are 2 rounds of funding. Round 1 opened in October 2021 and round 2 is open now.
The grant has three funding categories:
- Category 1: Development of officiating coaches/educators
- Category 2: Accreditation courses and competitions
- Category 3: Academies.
Applications for Category 1 and 3 are a higher priority for funding.
Applications are currently closed.
For more information, read the guidelines.
The objectives of the grant include the following:
- strengthen the capability and capacity of sport organisations to assess, coach, mentor, and educate NT officials
- increase the number of Territorians officiating at the higher levels in sport
- improve the knowledge, skills and experience of accredited sport officials participating in the NT.
Territory Sports Academy's High Performance Officiating Program
The Territory Sports Academy's (TSA) High Performance Officiating Program (HPOP) provides opportunities and encourages officials from the Northern Territory (NT) to aspire and achieve high level national and international standards of officiating within their sport.
By bringing officials and mentors together from various NT sports, it will encourage and engage with each other to stimulate development of themselves and NT officials in general.
2022 Nominations are now closed
Nominations for the 2022 HPOP are now closed.
HPOP is a key strategy of the Workforce Development Plan to build capabilities in higher achieving officials and officiating mentors and helping create capacity and sustainability through the NT Peak Sporting Body (PSB) engaging in the development of HPOP official.
The key objectives of HPOP are:
- the development of future high performing officials
- officials achieving higher levels of accreditation
- officials appointed to higher levels of competition within their sport
- officials and mentors contributing back to the NT sporting community
- development of officiating mentors within sports
- shaping PSB’s officiating development programs by exampling better practice.
The HPOP will provide development opportunities to targeted officials and mentors, and build the capacity of PSB’s officiating pathways by:
- supporting to upgrade the official’s accreditation
- providing professional development activities (e.g. monthly development sessions, one on one sessions with specialised professionals from nutrition, sports psychology, injury prevention and sports science)
- providing a dedicated intensive program that recognises an official’s talents and develops holistically a potential high performing official that PSB’s could not otherwise provide
- providing facilitated exchange of information and expertise between officials, through targeted activities and forums, that will create a sense of community cohesion, connectedness and wellbeing not only within each sport, but across sport
- supporting to attend and gain experience at high level competitions
- facilitating the engagement in formal mentor/mentee relationships
- the provision of a development program for mentors of the HPOP
- each official required to give back to sport.
2022 HPOP participants
The selected officials for 2022 are:
- Athletics NT – Leanne Chin
- Football NT– Bayley Pennuto
- Gymnastics NT – Cheryl Becker
- Netball NT – Melanie Ralph
- Netball NT – Margaret Ryland
- Touch Football NT – Lachlan Campbell
- Touch Football NT – George Edols
The selected mentors for 2022 are:
- Athletics NT – Caroline Jackman
- Football NT – Mark Dunn
- Gymnastics NT – Wendy Fry
- Netball NT – Kylie Ferteklis
- Netball NT – Gemma Nevin
- Touch Football NT – Samantha Hacon
- Touch Football NT – Wayne Lo
The HPOP relies upon a formal mentoring relationship agreement that is mutually beneficial for each HPOP official and mentor.
The HPOP official will be required to work with a mentor for the duration of 2022.
If you would like to get involved in mentoring through the HPOP, contact the Workforce Development Consultant.
For more information on officiating, contact:
Officials code of behaviour
Officiating is challenging. Officials need to be of strong character. Officials should be aware that their approach to officiating can influence the athlete’s experience and enjoyment of the sport.
Officials are increasingly facing ethical issues- harassment in sport, and match fixing. Officials can be subject to criticism, abuse and harassment. Officials can also have enormous influence over athletes, coaches and others in a game or event. Issues such as sportsmanship, injury, cheating, bullying, abuse of power and harassment have all become a part of sport.
All sports have a code of behaviour for coaches, players, spectators/parent and officials. It is important that officials are aware of their sport's code of behaviour and abide by it at all times.
Accepting a code of behaviour supports the sport's values of trust, honesty, responsibility, respect, safety, professionalism and equity.
For sport's that do not have their own Official code of behaviour, the following behaviours can be used to develop your own:
The Australian Sports Commission’s national code of behaviour for officials
- Operate within the rules and spirit of your sport, promoting fair play over winning at any cost.
- Encourage and support opportunities for people to learn appropriate behaviours and skills.
- Support opportunities for participants in all aspects of sports.
- Treat each person as an individual.
- Display control and courtesy to all involved with the sport.
- Respect the rights and worth of every person regardless of their gender, ability, cultural background or religion.
- Respect the decision of officials, coaches and administrators in the conduct of sport.
- Whenever practical, avoid unaccompanied and unobserved one-on-one activity (when in a supervisory capacity or where a power imbalance will exist) with people under the age of 18 years.
- Adopt appropriate and responsible behaviour in all interactions.
- Adopt responsible behaviour in relation to alcohol and other drugs.
- Act with integrity and objectivity, and accept responsibility for your decisions and actions.
- Ensure your decisions and actions contribute to a safe environment
- Ensure your decisions and actions contribute to a harassment-free environment.
- Do not tolerate harmful or abusive behaviours.
- Place the safety and welfare of the athletes above all else.
- Be consistent and impartial when making decisions.
- Address unsporting behaviour and promote respect for all people.
An official needs to be aware of the requirements of the sports’ youth policy that is in place and local state or Territory laws. The youth sport policy may refer to different rules or laws for youth participants in the sport, different procedures relating to safety for youth participants and other aspects about the inclusion of youth participants.
Tips for working with children
There are actions an official can take to ensure children feel safe and protected when participating in sport. These include;
- Use positive and acceptable language when talking about or to a child.
- Develop a calm behaviour-management style.
- Avoid any physical contact with children.
- Avoid situations in which an adult may be alone with a child.
- When children need to be transported, ensure there is more than one child (and , if possible, more than one adult) in the vehicle.
- Manage allegations (disclosures) of child abuse through established processes and reporting lines to ensure there is due process and natural justice.
- Document all incidents involving physical restraint of children or violence involving children.
- Document all incidents that seem to be unusual or ‘out of the ordinary’.
- Encourage children to be a ‘good sport’, to recognize that they have a right to feel safe, and know what they can do if they do not feel safe (if they are abused, harassed or discriminated against).
You must by law apply for a working with children clearance, also called an Ochre Card, to work or volunteer with children in the Northern Territory.
Online applications are fast and easy to complete.
For more information, please follow the link below:
To apply for a new card or renewal card, go here;
- Officiating – WA Department of Sports and Recreation
- Officiating Resources – Sport Australia
- Sports New Zealand
- Referee- Sports Officiating Magazine and Content
- Community Sport Officiating – Clearinghouse for Sports
- Play by the Rules
- Risk Management – Club Help
- Sports Medicine Australia
- Keeping Sport Honest (Match Fixing) – National Sport Integrity Unit
- Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority (ASADA)
- National Association of Sports Officials
- Officiating Resources – Human Kinetics
- Touch Football Official Development Program