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What we do > Athlete Leadership Programmes > Athletes as Officials

Athletes as Officials

For each World Games (Summer and Winter) the Games Organising Committee (GOC) invites applications from qualified Technical Officials (responsible for the oversight of all elements of the competition in their sport) and qualified Sports Officials (who will help manage the officiating at their competition i.e. as a referee, judge, time keeper).  Special Olympics International (SOI) selects a small number of international officials in all sports to add their expertise to that of the local officials. All costs are covered by SOI/GOC except insurance.

The majority of the Games Sport Officials will come from the host country. However, there is always a need for a selected few to come from outside of host country to complement the existing officials.

An online application process is then launched and a link to it is sent to all National Programmes around the world via SOI’s Special Olympics Regional Office. SOI’s Sports Department is also sent this so that they can send it to members of the Global Sport Resource teams as well.

This then gives SOI & the organisers a good, competitive pool to select from – males & females, as well as Athlete Officials, experienced World Games Officials, qualified new Officials to World Games and geographical representation.

In order to gain better data on each applicant, the following information is requested during the online application process:

·         Personal contact information

·         Sports Certification Information

·         Up to eight (8) Special Olympics officiating experiences (year, competition, assignment /   position/role).

·         Up to eight (8) Officiating experiences outside of Special Olympics.

·         Two (2) References (name, address, telephone number, email address)

·         Optional Supplemental documentation (i.e. letter of reference, certificate, etc.) (see NOTE 1 below)

The usual appointment process is that the Sports Technical Delegate and Assistant Technical Delegate are selected first by senior SOI Sports Department staff. Then these two individuals become part of the wider Selection Committee within their sport to select the “out of country” Sports Officials. Selection of the Athlete Officials (and their mentors) is conducted exclusively by SOI’s World Games Sports Department staff, with no input from anyone else; unless clarification is needed on a particular applicant, in which case this will be dealt with via the SOI Regional Office.

 Some of the over-arching guidelines for the selection of any “out of country” officials (including Athlete Officials) is that the applicant:-

·           Must be a qualified (SOI or mainstream) Official in their selected sport.

·           Must have officiated at National, Regional or International level in their selected sport.

·           Athlete Officials must have a mentor who also meets the above criteria.

If selected all costs are covered by SOI/GOC except insurance.

In considering any “out of country” Officials, the wider Selection Committee is expected to also consider:-

·         Male/Female gender balance

·         Experienced and new officials

·         Geographic balance

·         Legacy post the World Games

·         Relevant roles undertaken at lower level competitions by the applicant

·         And of course any cost implications, due to location of applicants to the host country.

If any Officials wish to be considered for World or Regional Games level, people need to consider an Officials pathway from our Special Olympics New Zealand (SONZ) Tier One through to Tier Three events. Gaining entry level Special Olympics International or mainstream officials certification should be seen as a minimum standard; and higher level official’s certification would be viewed as a bonus.

Any athletes wishing to consider a World Games Officials pathway may need to choose to attend the games as an Official and not compete as an Athlete dependent on the National Summer Games Competition programme.

This document is for the information of athletes as they prepare for future World Summer (and Winter) Games opportunities. All clubs will be notified of such opportunities as and when information is received by SONZ from Special Olympics International.

For more information about Global Messengers, contact:

National Office

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