How to Become a Referee

Know the Rules

Read the current edition of the International Canoe Federation (ICF) Canoe Polo Rules. A referee should also complete the ICF Canoe Polo Online Referee course which is a useful tool on the rules.

Referee Course

Attending a referee course is invaluable. At these courses an experienced referee will take you through the current ICF canoe polo rules and answer any questions you may have. If you are an individual/club and are interested in attending, or hosting, a canoe polo referee course please contact:

Initial Assessment

In order to become a trainee referee you must attain 75% in the Irish National Canoe Polo Referee Examination. The examination is in paper format and consists of 50 multiple choice questions relating to the current edition of the ICF Canoe Polo Rules. Aspiring referees can sit the examinations on completion of a referee course or at designated competitions.

Practice and Shadowing

A referee has to be shadowed by a qualified referee in order to be assessed to become a referee. Shadowing is were a referee sits on your shoulders and advises you on the calls that are made during a game.

Try to get as much practice in as you can by refereeing games at any tournament, or even at your own training sessions.

Read and refer to the rules continuously. If you have nay queries relating to rules contact the refereeing officer at

Assessment in Situ

In order to move up in the national grading you must be assessed by a higher grade referee during a game. This is a practical assessment and as such there is no percentage mark, but is at the discretion of the Referee doing the assessment. It is not scheduled, and will be conducted during the relevant competition whilst the practicing referee is refereeing a game. These assessments can occur during any competition.

Continuing Assessment

Grade 1 Referees continuously observe and assess Grade 2,3 & trainee referees. The Grade 1 referee may increase/decrease these grades at their own discretion. All Grade 3 and trainee referees will be required to re-sit the Irish referee examination every 2 years (from the date of their first test). The pass rate for the written examination is 75%.

Irish National Referee Grading

Grade 1 (G1/G1I/G1T)

The grade 1 referees are those that have proven themselves over countless games. They are knowledgeable on the rules and the details of those rules. They are expected to be active at the highest level providing fair and level headed management of fast paced games. Outside of refereeing they offer shadowing to upcoming referees and continuous assessment of existing G2 and G3 referees.

The Grade 1 International(G1I) referee has passed an assessment at an International competition and is regularly called upon to ref at International competitions. This needs to be refreshed every 2 years.

Grade 2 candidates who are considered to have the potential to become grade 1 referees within two years can be recommended by any existing G1 referee to becoming a Grade 1 Trainee(G1T). Grade 1T referees are expected to pass three practical assessments by two assessors within the two-year appointment. On successful completion of the above the assessors will recommend the candidate to be appointment to grade 1(G1).

Grade 2 (G2)

Grade 3 candidates who are considered to have achieved enough experience and have passed a practical assessments administered by a Grade 1 referee can be recommend to be promoted to a Grade 2 referee. A Grade 3 referee can also be recommended if they have been assessed by 2 independent(not from the same club) Grade 2 referees. Grade 2 referees offer shadowing and advice to Trainee and Grade 3 referees. They can also assess Trainees and recommend them for promotion to Grade 3 provided they pass the practical assessment.

Grade 3 (G3)

Those Trainees that have demonstrated a practical understanding of the rules are promoted to Grade 3 by Grade 2 and Grade 1 referees. This allows them gain experience at higher level games.

Trainee (T)

Having achieved a passing grade on the written test the candidate is granted the title of Trainee. They should practice referring league games and seek shadowing from higher grade referees so they can gain valuable practical experience.

Referee Grades VS Competition Levels 

The following definitions are a guideline only. Each definition refers to the standard of referee required for games in National Competitions, and includes the maximum level game standard that can be refereed.

Referee gradeCompetition Division (inc semi final)Competition FinalsWomen’s / youth / league division (inc semi final)Women’s / youth / league Final
Grade 1 / 1I / 1T1111
Grade 21211
Grade 33 22
T  3 
Scroll to top