Sports Officiating

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Sports Officiating


the supervision of sports competitions in accordance with established rules. The quality of sports officiating depends on the official’s knowledge of the rules of the sport, on his ability to apply the rules while observing the requirements of sportsmanship, including unbiased judgment and accuracy, and on his experience as an official. Sports officiating should have educational value for athletes and spectators alike. Sports officiating is not a profession.

The official fulfills various functions and duties, depending on the sport and the nature of the competition. For instance, he may referee the competition on a field (soccer or rugby), on a court (basketball or handball), on a rink (hockey), in a ring (boxing), on a mat (wrestling), or from a tower (volleyball or tennis). In running, walking, and ski races, the official may act as a starter, course judge, or finish judge. Judges may work in teams to evaluate athletes by giving them points, for example, in rhythmic modern gymnastics, acrobatics, figure skating, trampolining, diving, and ski jumping, as well as in boxing and wrestling, in which the referee stands in the ring or on the mat. Other sports officials include timekeepers, field judges, score announcers, and competition marshals. Major competitions, such as championships and Spartakiads, are supervised by juries consisting of a chief judge and his deputies, a chief secretary, and other members.

In the USSR, the following titles for sports officials have been established: Junior Referee, Referee First-, Second-, and Third-class, Referee Republic- and All-Union-class, and Honorary Referee. These titles are conferred with certification and a badge by appropriate sports committees upon the decision of juries and federations of officials for various sports, administrative boards of athletic clubs, and councils of physical-culture associations and athletic societies. For example, the titles of Referee All-Union-class and Honorary Referee are conferred by the Committee of Physical Culture and Sports of the Council of Ministers of the USSR. In 1975 there were 9,700 All-Union-class Referees and approximately 100 Honorary Referees.

The title of International-class Referee is conferred by international sports federations for skill at judging world, regional, continental, and other sports competitions. In 1975 there were 402 International-class Referees in the USSR. Soviet officials who have won worldwide recognition include V. M. Balavadze (wrestling), G. M. Karapetian (weightlifting), V. M. Kostin (basketball), N. G. Latyshev (soccer), A. V. Medved’ (wrestling), V. V. Rashmadzhian (water polo), B. V. Savin (boxing), T. A. Tolma-cheva (figure skating), Z. P. Firsov (swimming), M. A. Khimi-chev (skiing), T. N. Sharova (rowing), and B. A. Shakhlin (gymnastics).


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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