Roles of Officials in Table Tennis
Table tennis officials are an integral part of our sport, but who are they and what do they do?
Find out here...
Who are the officials in table tennis and how do you become a table tennis official?
Can anyone do it?
What qualifications do you need to have?
How much money do they get paid?
Discover the answers to all these questions, and much more, right here...
But first, let's be clear about...
Table Tennis Officials
When we refer to the officials in table tennis, we often only think about referees and umpires, but there are many other table tennis officials too.
You see, in order to run a high-level table tennis event successfully, you'll need referees, deputy and/or assistant referees, competition managers, umpires, assistant umpires, timekeepers, stroke counters, racket testers, technical officers and jury members.
by courtesy of the ITTF
Additionally, you'll need lots of other officials for tasks such as; preparing the table tennis courts; transporting the players; liaising with the media etc.
However, in this article, I'll only be focusing on referees and umpires.
Difference between a Referee and an Umpire
A referee is usually responsible for the entire running of a table tennis event which includes supervising all the umpires, whereas umpires control individual matches.
Can anyone be a Referee and Umpire?
So who are the referees and umpires that we see at table tennis events, and can anybody do it?
Well, anyone who has an interest in table tennis can apply to be a referee and / or an umpire, but not everyone will be able to reach the necessary standard.
The first requirement is to have a good knowledge of the of table tennis together with a clear understanding of how they apply to different competitions. This is necessary in order to ensure a fair result.
Referees and umpires also need to be able to control events and matches unobtrusively, so they need to gain the respect and trust of the players and their coaches.
They're also responsible for the presentation and running of the entire event. This includes controlling each match and the appearance of the playing area, so they need to be well organised and physically capable of undertaking those tasks.
An additional requirement for International Referees and Umpires is the ability to understand and speak the English language.
Are Referees and Umpires Paid?
The officials in table tennis are usually part-time volunteers, rather than full-time paid officials, who give up their free time for the benefit of the sport of table tennis.
However, at some events they are reimbursed for travelling costs, hotel costs, food and other expenses or they are provided free-of-charge. These will vary from competition to competition.
Generally, the high profile international table tennis events will always pay expenses and / or provide transport, hotels, food etc, free-of-charge, whereas at a local level there may be none at all.
Whenever expenses are paid to officials, they are usually paid by the organiser of the event.
Qualifications for Officials
So what qualifications do the officials in table tennis require?
Well, the type of qualifications which they are required to have will always depend upon the level / standard of the competition at which they are officiating.
Additionally, there are diffferent requirements depending on whether they are officiating at an event in their own country, or in another country.
If they're running a high-level table tennis event then they will need to be suitably qualified, but for local, lower-level events, they may or may not be required to possess suitable qualifications.