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NOC 2016 Version 1.3


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5253 – Sports officials and referees

Sports officials and referees observe and enforce rules and regulations governing sporting events, athletic games and sports competitions. They are employed by national, provincial and local sporting commissions, organizations and leagues.


Example titles

  • Athletics judge
  • Clerk of the course - racetrack
  • Figure skating judge
  • Goal judge
  • Harness racing starter
  • Racetrack timer
  • Referee
  • Sports linesman/woman
  • Sports official
  • Umpire

Main duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:
  • Officiate at sporting events or athletic competitions to maintain standards of play and to ensure that game rules and safety regulations are observed
  • Record lapsed time and keep scores during events or competitions
  • Judge the performance of competitors, award points, impose penalties for infractions and determine results
  • Compile scores and other athletic records
  • Establish and maintain rapport with coaches, players and organizing committees
  • Verify credentials of athletes or animals engaged in sports or related special events, and respond to written protests.

Employment requirements

  • Sports officials require certification by and registration with a sport governing body or commission.
  • Sports referees require completion of an officiating program offered by a sport governing body.

Additional information


  • Coaches (5252)
  • Program leaders and instructors in recreation, sport and fitness (5254)

Breakdown summary

Broad occupational category
5 – Occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport
Skill level
B – Occupations usually require college education, specialized training or apprenticeship training.
Major group
52 – Technical occupations in art, culture, recreation and sport
Minor group
525 – Athletes, coaches, referees and related occupations
Associated Career Handbook profiles
5253.0 – Sports officials and referees
NOC 2016 Version 1.3
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