Towards a Competency Framework for Sport Officials in Europe

Towards a Competency Framework for Sport Officials in Europe

The 4th full partner meeting of the ONSIDE project took place in Bucharest, Romania, on 26th/27th March 2019. The meeting was hosted by the Romanian Football Federation and delegates learned about the role and activity of the federation in developing referees.

Patrick Vajda updated the group on the formation of the International Federation for Sport Officials (IFSO) which has been established in The City of The Hague in the Netherlands. Three partners of the ONSIDE project are founding members of the federation: AFCAM, SOUK and NOC*NSF.  Recruitment of new members is now a priority for the federation and the ONSIDE partners agreed to support this task through promotion to their networks. There will be a close link between IFSO and the ONSIDE project including joint events and promotion of project outputs.

The ‎focus of day 1 of the meeting was to validate the Occupational Map and Occupational Descriptor for sport officiating in Europe. These documents describe the landscape of sport officiating and the key structures and organisations within it. They also describe the role of the sport official and key issues related to recruitment and retention.

At the close of Day 1 delegates visited a Romanian restaurant in the old town of Bucharest and enjoyed traditional food and dancing.

Day 2 saw the first steps towards developing a competence framework for sport officiating in Europe. The group drafted a “Key Purpose”, or working definition of sport officiating:

Enable participants to compete through the impartial application of rules/ laws within the spirit of the sport

This was the first task in the development of occupational standards defining the generic skills and knowledge related to all sport officials in Europe. Further group work saw delegates develop key areas of competence including application of rules and regulations, health and safety, administration and working with others.

The production of a new competency framework will be a valuable output for the whole area of sport officiating in Europe. The partners now look forward to the next meeting in Malta in September 2019.

‎Janie Frampton, CEO of Sport Officials UK said “it is amazing what can be achieved when we look beyond the confines of our specific sports and work together to develop sport officiating as a whole – the ONSIDE project is a perfect example of that”.

Ivan Slavchev, Associate Professor at National Sports Academy “Vassil Levski” (Bulgaria) said “The 7 step model provides a clear structure for the project and we are making great progress towards valuable resources for the sector”.

The ONSIDE project aims to research and define the area of sport officiating in Europe, develop occupational standards to define generic skills and performance requirements, and finally to develop innovative education products both face to face and online.


For more information visit the website or contact

The ONSIDE project is co-funded by the European Commission under the Erasmus+ Collaborative Partnerships in Sport programme.

Full list of project partners: European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE), Sports Officials UK (SOUK), Association Française du Corps Arbitral Multisports (AFCAM), European Handball Federation (EHF), European Table Tennis Union (ETTU), European Athletics, SportMalta, Dutch Olympic Committee * Dutch Sports Federation (NOC*NSF), Romanian Football Federation (FRF), British Wheelchair Basketball, National Sports Academy “Vassil Levski”

ONSIDE Leaflet