Association Croquet Refereeing
A hampered shot in which a fault may be committed should be watched by a referee.
The players are jointly responsible for the conduct of all games, even in tournaments, in the absence of a referee. However, a qualified referee (if available) should be asked to adjudicate any stroke in which a player suspects a fault may be committed, or in the event of uncertainty as to how to proceed with the game.
Croquet England makes provision to train and examine three grades of AC referee:
AC Assistant Referee: an assistant referee can officiate at any game, match or event (for major tournaments: if so authorised by the Tournament Referee) in routine situations, including watching for potential faults and adjudicating wirings, but is not expected to have full knowledge of the Laws covering more unusual ones. Under regulation R3.1.1, Assistant Referees would normally ask a full Referee to adjudicate when a matter of Law is to be interpreted that is not clear to them.
AC Referee: a full referee can officiate at any AC game, match or event (for major tournaments: if so authorised by the Tournament Referee).
AC Championship Referee: some of the most experienced AC Referees have qualified to officiate at top-class events.
In addition, there are AC Examining Referees who are responsible for training and qualifying new referees - most Federations have at least one.
The powers and duties of referees are spelt out in the Tournament Regulations.
Usually, a referee acts as a Referee on Request - called on by the players either to watch a problematic stroke about to be played, or to sort out a problem after it has happened.
Occasionally, when the situation demands, a referee may be asked to supervise a match and become a Referee in Charge.
All significant tournaments controlled by Croquet England or a Federation will usually have an appointed Tournament Referee: the official responsible for nominating and allocating authorised referees, and hearing appeals.
Resources for Referees and Players
A number of resources are available to help players, existing AC Referees and those considering becoming a referee:
- The Croquet England slow-motion videos - stroke guidance for players and referees. When made in 2006, these videos revolutionised our understanding of what happens in many normal strokes played in AC and GC. Any serious player or aspiring referee will benefit from studying these videos.
- Referee Training Course Manual - a learning aid for Laws students and guidance for Examining Referees.
Becoming a Referee
To become an AC referee you should attend a two-day (usually weekend) training course, and then take a 20-question multi-choice examination, plus a one-hour on-court practical test to qualify as an Assistant Referee. For Full Referee, a longer written or interactive examination of the Laws and your understanding of them is administered by an Examining Referee.
After two years of experience as a qualified referee, you can retake the examination, with two examiners for the practical, to become a Championship Referee by achieving the higher pass mark.
Often there is insufficient time to administer the examinations immediately after a course. If you have attended a course and want to try the exam, please contact a local Examining Referee, who will be delighted to work with you towards your qualification.
Before the course, you are expected to have read the Laws and ORLAC thoroughly - and there's a self-test to help you with that. None of the examinations are a memory test, except that the basic principles are expected to be known. Have a look too at the online Laws Quiz to test and expand your knowledge.
Croquet England runs occasional courses to train referees for the examination. Please contact the office or your local Federation for information about courses near you, or to register your interest and provide motivation to schedule such a course. The Laws Committee maintains the Referee Training Course Manual, and offer it here as a learning aid for Laws students as well as guidance for Examining Referees.