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Referee Ratings Process

Referee Ratings Process

Becoming a certified referee involves multiple steps that are aimed at ensuring a uniform application of the rules and the conventions of right of way. To earn or maintain a referee rating, all referees must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a member in good standing of USA Fencing. Referees who let their membership lapse for over one year will lose their rating

  • Pass the online exam once every two years with a score of 90 percent in the general section, and 90 percent in each weapon being tested for

  • Attend a rules seminar

  • Referee at their level at least every two years

  • Observe the Referee Code of Ethics and always act professionally

Once a referee has attended a rules seminar and passed the online exam, they earn a rating of “P.”

All referees must pass a practical examination given by a Referee Examiner. Referees must demonstrate proficiency at a certain level to earn a rating. Demonstrated proficiency means showing consistency over time in the following skills:

  • Make the calls appropriate for the rated level of fencing (as listed below).

  • Knowledge and utilization of correct procedures, terminology and hand gestures.

  • Apply penalties correctly and appropriately.

  • Maintain composure on the strip.

  • Demonstrate control of the strip.

  • Comport oneself well, and maintain a professional image both on and off the strip.

  • Interact with competitors in a professional manner.

  • Interact appropriately with coaches and spectators.

  • Demonstrate an ability to handle pressure situations; i.e. make the same calls consistently, no matter the bout situation (same call at 14-14 as at 1-1), bout level (pools, first round of DE, or Finals), or quantity/quality of spectators.

The domestic ratings are listed below, with N1 being the most proficient rating. Ratings require demonstrated proficiency at the following levels or their equivalent:

  • P – Passed the appropriate exams for that weapon
  • L2 – Beginning referee working at local level events
  • L1 – Referee with demonstrated competency to work higher level local events
  • R2 – Referee with demonstrated competency to work at regional level events
  • R1 – Referee with demonstrated competency to work higher levels at regional events
  • N2 – Referee with demonstrated competency to work national Level events
  • N1 – Referee with demonstrated competency to work highest level national events

Note: R1 rated referees are eligible for selection to referee at national events, depending on tournament needs.

N2 and N1 ratings will be awarded during the annual Referees’ Commission meeting.

Regional event bid packages will require an N2 head referee.