A new course for beginner referees has been launched by Basketball New Zealand. This is the first course to be rolled out in support of the new pathways for referees and referee trainers that have been developed following recommendations made last year by the National Referee Appointments and Development Committee to update the pathways to align with the new FIBA referee curriculum that was published in 2019.

The course consists of a series of online modules delivered through Sport New Zealand’s SportTutor platform, followed by a practical workshop run locally in associations, and a practical assessment on a game.

Following completion of the three stages, a learner referee will be qualified as a Level 1 Referee, which is the first stage in the new national referee pathway leading from local school or association competitions on to regional age-group and school tournaments, national championships, through to refereeing in the national leagues and at FIBA international events.

Information on how to start out as a referee is available on the Basketball New Zealand website on the Officials page. From there, a link is available to the Level 1 Referee course description in the BBNZ catalogue in the SportTutor platform. New referees can enrol in the course directly from the course description.

As well as the new online course, a new manual has been published for trainers running the practical workshops that follow the online course, setting out what needs to be covered in those workshops. Referee trainers from around the country have been introduced to the new course and their role in it during a recent Zoom call.

Further courses will be developed, with the next to be worked on being a Level 1 Referee Trainer course and a Level 2 Referee course.

The new pathway for referees will have the following levels, and new referees will be able to start at any of the Introduction to refereeing, Kiwi Hoops or Level 1 stages.

Introduction to refereeing – For people who help out with refereeing ➡

Kiwi Hoops Referee – Primary school Kiwi Hoops (and miniball) and basketball ➡

Level 1 Referee – Community basketball at association and school level ➡

Level 2 Referee – Regional age-group and school tournaments, national championships ➡

Level 3 Referee – All basketball below national leagues level ➡

National Leagues Referee Panel – National leagues – men and women ➡

FIBA Referee – International basketball

A document explaining this new referee pathway and the new referee trainer pathway in more detail can be found here.

The background to the new pathways goes back to the 2016 introduction by FIBA of the FIBA Referee Instructor Programme (FRIP) to provide a framework for the delivery of referee education at global, regional and national level. In 2017, Peter Rodgers, Ken Coulson and Jilly Harris were nominated by BBNZ to undertake the FRIP Level 1 training, which involved a period of home study and a four-day workshop on the Gold Coast in October 2017.

In 2019, FIBA introduced a new referee education curriculum and published a series of referee training manuals.

In March 2020, Peter Rodgers was appointed to the position of National Referee Instructor, which is a position that FIBA introduced as a requirement for all national federations to have. The role is to be FIBA’s New Zealand contact for officiating, to be involved in the selection process for FIBA referees, and to oversee referee training, which in New Zealand will be done through the National Referee Appointments and Development Committee. The person appointed to the role has to be someone who has completed the FIBA Referee Instructor Programme training.

Also in March 2020, BBNZ set up the National Referee Appointments and Development Committee (NRADC) to assist BBNZ in providing a national framework for referee and referee trainer development including recruitment, retention, training, professional development – having regard to the FIBA system and requirements – and to recommend annual referee and trainer training and development activities. The committee is also responsible for the selection of the National Leagues Referee Panel and recommending referees for FIBA appointments. Members of the NRADC are appointed based on positions they hold in basketball, namely:

  • The National Referee Instructor (chair of the committee): Peter Rodgers
  • Up to three people who have been trained on the FIBA Referee Instructor Programme: Ken Coulson, Jilly Harris
  • The National Leagues (men and women) Chief Referee Evaluator: Peter Rodgers
  • The National Leagues Appointments Manager: Stephanie Eldred
  • A referee, appointed by BBNZ, who is active at the community referee recruitment and development level: Marty Davison.

During 2020, the NRADC developed some recommendations to BBNZ to update the pathways for referees and referee trainers to align with the new FIBA referee curriculum.

Work was then done to develop the details of the new pathways. The competencies at each level in the FIBA curriculum were mapped to the new levels in the BBNZ referee pathway, setting out a progression in knowledge and skills that the training aims to equip referees with at each level. Then the next step was to begin developing the new courses for referees and trainers.