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If you have watched a badminton match on your TV then you may have noticed that there are lots of people sit along with the court and each performing a specific duty, In this guide, you will learn the types of officials in badminton and what are their roles in a badminton match.

To ensure quality and fair play in badminton different badminton officials are appointed by BWF Each one performing different duty,

Now let’s see how many types of officials are there in badminton

  • Referee
  • Umpire, Two types, Chair Umpire and Service Umpire
  • Line Judge
  • Mopper

Before I start explaining each of these first let me tell you some important points regarding these badminton officials

To become a BWF I would say international badminton officials there is a certain pathway that every official follows which is from national to continental to world level. The BWF qualifies referees and umpires at two levels – Accredited and Certificated.

Referee in badminton

A referee in badminton acts like a manager who’s job is to conduct matches in a tournament in a proper manner and resolve any dispute if a situation arises.

Other duties of tournament referee are to make a doctor available if a player gets injured or if the tapping of the court came off, ensuring that matches and practice schedules in a tournament are properly set up and many more.

One thing that bugs me in badminton is how an umpire and referee communicate in a match.

if you have watched a match in which a need for referee arises during a match, the umpire raises his hand signaling tournament referee to come on the court.

Even if there is a minor problem referee had to walk all the way through the court to talk I mean why don’t they use any device for communicating to save time.

Level of a tournament referee in badminton

As I mentioned earlier there are two levels of referee

  • BWF Accredited
  • BWF Certificated, which is the highest level in refereeing.

Power of a tournament referee in Badminton

I would say that referee can only take the decision regarding things outside the court meaning that other than the matches where an umpire has been appointed, the Tournament referee has influence over it like changing court for a match, schedule ( In emergency), etc.

We can say that the roles of a referee can also be counted as his power.

How to become an International referee

There are three levels which a referee needs to climb for becoming an international referee wheater in Badminton Europe or BWF (Level 4 Referee is an international referee)

Level 1:- Local referee

This is the starting point of becoming a referee, there is no particular training which you will be needing to qualify as a local referee.

It is a good opportunity to learn how things are managed in a tournament

Level 2:- Regional referee

Now we are starting to get serious as to become a regional referee(state) you need to follow some training module which will be provided by an association of the same region so contact them for any query.

Level 3:- National referee

This is the highest domestic level which can be achieved, after clearing level 2 regional office may recommend you to the national association.

Level 4:- International referee

And finally, now you are in the big league, the national association will recommend you to BWF according to your performance.

Umpire in Badminton

In Badminton, there are two types of umpires

  • Chair Umpire
  • Service Umpire/Judge

Chair Umpire in Badminton

We discussed how a referee is in-charge of a tournament but during a match, it is the chair umpire who acts as the main official meaning that all decision was taken by umpire whether right or wrong is final.

The job of a chair umpire is to make sure that the match is conducted according to the rules prescribed by BWF.

Some of the duties of a chair umpire are

  • Doing toss of the coin to decide who will serve and who will play on which court
  • Introducing players to the crowd by taking their name on the mic(if provided)
  • Keeping a record of the score during the entire match and telling the same on the mic(if provided) before each serve.
  • Ensuring that the match is conducted in a peaceful manner
  • Checking for net faults (if a player touches the net during a rally) or any other fault except regarding service because it is the duty of service judge
  • Calling mopper(with hand signals) if a player asks for the same ( only if necessary)

Powers of Chair umpire

A player should always keep in mind that chair umpire is the top official during a match and doing anything against the rules even after warning from umpire can cause disqualification.

These are some of the powers of chair umpire

  • He has the power to overrule line judge decision meaning that if he is certain that the decision made by line judge is wrong than it is in his power to change line call from OUT to IN and vice versa.
  • He got the authority to give cards to the player on misconduct, there are three types of card in badminton, yellow(warning), red(gives one point to the opponent), black(disqualify).

Levels of BWF Umpires

  • BWF Accredited
  • BWF Certificated, which is the highest level in umpiring.

Where is chair umpire sits

Chair Umpire

One more thing to remember as a player is that every match you play you should do a handshake before and after the match is finished with both umpires and your opponent as a gesture to thank them.

How to become a BWF umpire

National Badminton Federations train, develop and assess umpires to the highest national level for their top national tournaments. Umpires who are at a sufficient level and experience may then be assessed to become accredited or certificated at the continental level.

BWF Umpire Assessors are responsible for the assessment of umpires to be upgraded to the BWF Accredited and Certificated levels, the appraisals of current BWF Umpires, as well as helping lead the respective education and mentoring programs of these umpires. (Source)

Things to note:- Badminton Europe has an age limit of 55 for umpire assessment and the Badminton World Federation will not assess an umpire over age 50.

If you have been inactive for 2 consecutive years in an association, you will be removed from the list of umpires.

Service Judge/Umpire in Badminton

In badminton, the role of a service Umpire is to incept whether the server is doing the service by the rules determined by BWF.

It is important to know that it is he who can give service fault to the player and not the chair umpire, Service judge uses hand signals if a fault is committed by the player to tell chair umpire that a fault has been committed by the server.

Hand Signals used by service Judge

There are five types of faults which a service judge looks for

  • Foot Fault:- When a player moves during the service or his foot is touching the midcourt line
  • Shuttle above legal height:- If the server hits the shuttle above a height of 1.15m
  • Racket head not pointing down:- If racket head of the server is above or parallel to his racket handle joint(with shaft)
  • Touching feather first:- Your racket face should hit the bottom of the shuttle first.
  • Double action:- the serving player make double action with racket before hitting the shuttle.

Duties of Service Judge

  • To make sure that players are following service rules set by BWF
  • Give shuttle to players for warm-up
  • If chair umpire allows, changing the shuttle to a new one during a match

Power of Service Judge in Badminton

  • The service judge decision is final when it comes to service faults and it cannot be overruled

How to become a service judge

One thing you might not know but both chair umpire and service judge go through the same training, If you look at starting rounds of a tournament they change their position in different matches as informed by tournament referee.

So the process of becoming a service judge is the same as of a chair umpire.

Line Judge in Badminton

There are so many lines in a badminton court and chair umpire cannot make the decision on all of the shots that is why there are linemen sitting along the court to see whether a shuttle is IN or OUT.

Depending on the level of a tournament, there may be as many as 10 line judges assigned to a court for a particular match.

Duty of lineman

The only role of a lineman is to tell the chair umpire whether the shuttle was IN or OUT that is it.

But one to note that a lineman only makes call for his/her line meaning that if a lineman making calls for backcourt vertical line and if shuttle land OUT of horizontal line but IN on his line than he will make hand signal of IN whereas the lineman who is sitting on that horizontal line will call shuttle out.

Hand signals used by lineman

There are three types of hand signals made by lineman

  • When the shuttle is IN:- Lineman will make pledge gesture with his hand
  • When the shuttle is OUT:- He will extend both of his arm making a straight line from his one hand to another hand.
  • When he does not know:- when the lineman is not certain if the shuttle was IN or OUT due to reason like player covered the line etc. He covers his eyes with both hands.

BWF Line Judge Nomination Process

The BWF assigns line judges for its major events, based on the nominations from the respective continental confederation to ensure appropriate regional representation at all events.

BWF line judges serve four-year terms with an opportunity to renew for a second term.

BWF Line Judge Nomination Process

The BWF assigns line judges for its major events, based on the nominations from the respective continental confederation to ensure appropriate regional representation at all events.

BWF line judges serve four-year terms with an opportunity to renew for a second term.

Power of Linemen in Badminton

Not authority is given to linemen other than making line calls, there used to be a time where if a lineman has made a call whether right or wrong it cannot be overruled or challenged but now badminton has evolved very much

There are two ways by which the decision of lineman can be changed

  • If Chair umpire feels that the decision was wrong
  • If the player decides to use hawkeye

Things to Know About Hawkeye

It is smart replay technology used in international matches to find if a shuttle is IN or OUT, but this system is not provided in every court only TV court gets provided is technology.

Players are allowed 2 challenges in a match if the challenge is successful no deduction and if not 1 challenge will be removed.

A player can ask for hawkeye by raising his hand and showing it to the umpire if there is a delay by the player in raising his hand he will not be allowed to use the challenge.

Where do linemen sit

These stars are showing where do linemen sit, but it is not necessary that every line should be monitored by him it depends on how important a match is.

  • 3 on backcourt on each side
  • 2 on the service line
  • 2 on backcourt looking at their vertical line

One more badminton official which I thought it is necessary to include

I am talking about mopper who sits beside the court waiting for the umpire gesture to mop the sweat off the court, it is only because of them that a player can move on the court without worrying about slipping during a rally.

In a match, there are two moppers appointed on the court and their duty is to clear court before the match, during the half time after finishing off a set and when umpire asks the court to be mopped.

Thank you for reading…

Categories: For beginner


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