Become an Umpire

Qualifying as an umpire makes good sense if you play petanque competitively.  It will help you in your development as a player and make you a valuable member of a doubles or triples team. Give it a go ... it really is worthwhile.   

Umpiring the Game of Petanque

Umpires are responsible for administering the rules of play in accordance with the FIPJP International Rules of Petanque and any local Petanque New Zealand rules and interpretations.

Umpire Classification 
Grade 1 - Club Umpire
Grade 2 - Regional Umpire
Grade 3 - National Umpire
Grade 4 - Confederation Umpire (FIPJP exam) 
Grade 5 - International Umpire (FIPJP exam)

Requirements to become an Umpire

  • to be an affiliated member of Petanque New Zealand 
  • to be physically fit and mobile
  • possess good eyesight
  • to know the rules! (there is of course much more to being an umpire than simply knowing the rules and regulations, but it is an integral part of the job)
  • to be able to think quickly and make clear decisions
  • to be able to use common sense and good judgement
  • to be assertive enough to maintain control of a game even when challenged 

Before attending an Umpiring Workshop or sitting an umpire exam, regardless of the level, you should read the rule book thoroughly.    You don't have to be able to remember everything, but you do need to know if there is a rule about a particular situation, and be able to find it quickly.   Sometimes the situation may not be covered by a specific rule, in these cases you may have to consider the combined effect of several rules and/or apply common sense.

The other important thing you will need to be familiar with is Petanque New Zealand's Player & Spectator Code of Behaviour, which applies at all levels of the game.

What do I need to do?

Club level Umpires
Any financial member of a club that is affiliated to PNZ can apply to the Technial Director of Umpiring or the  Regional Coordinator of Umpiring to become a Level 1 (Club) umpire.

The role of the club level umpire is generally undemanding. Club umpires need to have a basic understanding of the rules and a basic ability to measure a close point. They usually only intervene when called in by the players (but still can of course step in if they see rules being breached). The PNZ exam for the Club Umpire is designed to demonstrate that the individual has read and understood the Rules, and can apply interpretations of the rules on a club day.

The written examination is a closed-book exam. Candidates are asked to state what particular rules are, and to apply interpretations of rules in specified situations. The pass mark is 70% or greater.

Taking the Club level exam is a real advantage for any player or coach, whether or not they end up doing any umpiring since all players should know the rules, and it can sometimes just give that extra edge in a competitive situation.

Higher levels
At the higher levels, umpires are likely to be more 'active', intervening in play to correct breaches of rules and imposing penalties as appropriate, and the qualities of the individual come to the fore ... the ability to be fair and reasonable, but firm at all times. 

Regional Umpires
After completing one year as an active Level 1 (Club) umpire, you can apply to sit for a Level 2 (Regional Umpire) examination. This involves a one day umpiring workshop in order to be up to date with the rules and sitting a Regional Umpire's exam organised by the Technical Director of Umpiring.

The course consists of:

  • in-depth discussion of the rules and their interpretation
  • practical demonstration of the use of measuring equipment and measuring techniques
  • hands-on umpiring in a tournament under the supervision of the course leader so that the examiner can assess skills and attitude.

National Umpires
After umpiring four Regional Tournaments and assisting at two National Tournaments as an active Level 2 (Regional) Umpire, you can apply to become a Level 3 (National) Umpire. At this level, you will also need to be familiar with PNZ's Tournament Conditions and Tournament Protocols.   As well as written and practical examinations the Technical Director may apply other types of assessment including, but not limited to an oral interview.

Oceania and Asian Confederation Umpire
After a minimum of two years as an active Level 3 (National) Umpire, assisting at least one, preferably two International tournaments and satisfactory performance reports, you may apply to the Technical Director of Umpiring to sit a Confederation Umpires exam.   This is a required level if you wish to become an International Umpire.    These examinations are organised intermittently by the Oceania and/or Asian Confederations with approval from F.I.P.J.P. and are done in English and French.    They require a solid knowledge of the international rules and the ability to use judgement, common sense and quick thinking.   They consist of a written, practical and oral examination.

International Umpires
F.I.P.J.P. organises training courses and exams at  International level. PNZ can contact FIPJP for details and may consider supporting suitable candidates from New Zealand to complete this level of qualification.

At all levels, umpires are required to keep the PNZ Technical Director of Umpiring informed of their activity and to submit report on each event they umpire.   This report should cover any rulings made, incidents that occurred (including names) and penalties imposed, within 7 days of the event.   The report form can be found on this website under Umpiring.

Technical Director of Umpiring

July 2016

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