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How Many Officials are in Badminton and Their Roles

How Many Officials are in Badminton?

There is a total of 10 to 13 officials in a badminton tournament. The variation is on the line judges. The BWF is recommended to have 10 line judges per court. But some tournaments will only have 8 line judges.

What Are The Officials of Badminton?

They are include of 1 referee, 1 umpire, 1 service judge, and 8 to 10 line judges.

Referee in Badminton

In badminton, the referee is the most senior official. They are having the absolute authority and they are in charge of all matters which affect play and the players – both on the court and off the court.

The referee is looked after the whole tournament. The umpire, service judge, and line judges are all needed to report to the referee.

In addition, the referee is also having the authority in approving the practice and matches schedule.

What does the referee do in badminton?

The responsibilities of the referee :

  • Ensure the correct implementation of rules and regulations according to international badminton standard.
  • Plan and coming out with schedule and order of play.
  • Ensure smooth running of the tournament on each day.
  • If any issue happens, the referee will liaise with the umpire and line judge officers.
  • Doing amendments to the schedule and draw.
  • Ensure all equipment used in a tournament is qualified according to BWF standards.
  • Ensure the availability of all tournament reports.

You will not see referees carry out their duty on the court. They are more of backend force. Referees will only show face if there are any special issues happening. If any conflict or issues being raised by the umpire, the referee will exist and will try out to solve. The decision that makes from the referees are generally finale.

badminton officials on court

Level of Referee

There are two levels of the international referee. They are:

  • BWF Accredited.
  • BWF Certificated – the highest level.

Badminton Referee Training and Assessment

The referee training and development programs are carried out by the Confederation. BWF will conduct the training seminars and courses to make sure all the participants are having sufficient knowledge of badminton rules, equipment, players and etc.

All the potential referees are being trained and assessed by the National Badminton Associations. Referees who complete the training, knowledgable and have a good experience will be further assessed to become internationally referees who are BWF Accredited or Certificated.

the referee of the competition is having the authority to choose the qualified candidates to join in the Refereeing team. The retirement age for a badminton referee is at age 65.

If you are interested to be a qualified badminton referee in the United States, you can gather more information from USA Badminton.


While the referee is taking care of the entire tournament, the umpire is in charge of the badminton court and all the matches in a tournament.

Umpire is sitting on the tall umpire chair in front of the net. The umpire is responsible for the main penalty, judging if the receiver is making a foul when a rally is served. Besides, the umpire will also judge on his side if a shuttle is inside or outside the court.

Badminton umpire qualifications

The levels of umpire can be categorized in 3 – from third grade to first grade.

The third-grade umpire can directly take the exam and get approval from the sports departments of counties, districts, and universities.

If you are already a third-grade umpire, you can take more badminton umpiring at the city or district level, because this level of sports authority can approve you to become a second-grade umpire.

To become a first-grade umpire, you must regularly participate in the umpiring work at the provincial, county or state level. You need to be recognized by the local sports authority in order to have the opportunity to take the exam and be approved as a first-grade umpire.

National Umpire

To become a national umpire, first, you must have a higher level of knowledge about badminton. Not only you need to grasp all the rules and regulations, but you also need to understand and use them freely and correctly.

Secondly, you must understand the rules of drawing in badminton matches and participate in the drawing process in some competitions.

In addition, every international or national umpire has the responsibility and obligation to train local level umpires, and you can ask them for help.

Finally, you must not forget to keep in constant contact with the local provinces, municipalities, sports competitions department, and badminton associations. Often participate in various activities and assessments organized by them, in order to recommend you to participate in national umpire assessment at key moments.

3 Levels of Test

Generally, most of the Badminton Association will conduct national-level of umpire examinations every two years.
At that time, the association will issue documents to the provincial and regional sports committees and allocate the venues for examination.

The candidates who are recommended by local committees from all over the country will take the exam. Most of the examinations are includes 3 sessions: written test, oral test, and on-the-spot umpire.

The content of the written test will include regular umpire law, drawing arrangement and English language.

The oral test is mainly testing the candidates to listen to some conversations. The examiners will observe their actions, measure the ability of the candidate to express and understand the rules.

The on-the-spot umpire test will test on the level of the candidate. They will get tested on the control ability, personality, and English speaking level.

For the first-grade umpires who are preparing to apply for national-level umpires, the information that they can refer to is the Law of Badminton which is approved by BWF and the “Badminton Referee Handbook” which was published by authorized badminton association from respective country.

What is the umpire’s role in badminton?

  • Ensure the enforcement of the badminton rules in competition. Promptly pronounce foul that committed by the players.
  • Ruling on the appeal made by the player before the next serve.
  • Ensure that players and spectators are kept informed of the progress of the game.
  • Have the right to assign or remove a line judge or service judge after consultation with the referee.
  • Arrange for unexecuted duties when technical officers are insufficient.
  • When the technical officer is blocked from sight, perform his duties for players to do a “re-service”.
  • Record and report to the referee all matters related to the rules of all the matches.
  • Only submit those appeals that related to the badminton rules to the referee. This type of appeal must be filed before the next serve. If the match is over, it should be filed before the complainant leaves the court.
  • Effectively interact with coaches, players, and other volunteers.
  • Be a decision maker and make sure of fair play on every game.

The retirement age for a badminton umpire is at the age of 55.

Service Judge

What is a service judge in badminton?

The service judge is sitting on a low chair in front of the net in the direct opposite position with the umpire.

What is the role of the service judge?

There are 2 main responsibilities for service judge. The first one is making a ‘service fault’ call if a player is foul when doing the serve. The second one is to provide a new shuttle to the player if the player request for a change of the shuttle.

You may find some tournaments there is no service judge being assigned. If this is the case, then the umpire will be taking up the role of service judge as well.

Badminton Line Judge Training and Assessment

To become a qualified service judge, you will go through the same training and assessment like those who want to become an umpire. Therefore, you can refer to the part that is talking about umpire if you want to know how to become a service judge.

The retirement age for a badminton service judge is at age 55.

Line Judges (Linesmen)

The line judge is placed at each line of badminton court to look after if a shuttle landed is in or out of the court near the line that you are appointed to look after.

How many line judges are there in badminton?

As mentioned in the beginning, the number of line judges can be different in different matches. Some tournaments are having 10 line judges while some may have 8.

A midline judge on both sides of the court to determine whether the serve is in the wrong zone.

A baseline judge on both sides to determine whether the shuttle is out of the line and whether the doubles make a long serve.

Two sideline judges on both sides of the court to determine whether the shuttle is out of the line.

It’s the umpire’s responsibility to ensure he has sufficient line judges on duty during a tournament being held.

What are the roles and responsibilities of a line judge in badminton?

Requirements for the line judge are:

They should sit on the line being assigned to him. The best position is to face the umpire. The actual sitting distance between the line judges with the court is about 2.5 to 3.5 meters.

1. When the shuttle is falling outside the boundary, the line judge needs to shout “out” loud and clear to report the shuttle is landed “outside the boundary”. While the arms need to raise sideways so that the umpire can see clearly.

2. If the shuttle is landed within the line boundary, the line judges only need to point to the line with their hand.

3. If the eyesight of the line judge is blocked, they need to use both hands to cover their eyes immediately to signal the umpire they miss the eye judgment.

Badminton Line Judge Training

There is no course or certification issued by BWF to the training of line judge. Therefore, the path to becoming a qualified line judge will with different for many countries. Since the position is not as important as umpire or service judge, thus, most of the requirement for someone to become a line judge is rather lenient.

In addition, with the implementation of “Hawk Eye”, it helps to share the jobs with the line judges.

About “Hawk Eye”

It used to be the line judges will have the final judge if a shuttle is landed inside or outside of the line in a badminton match. However, it is difficult to ensure 100% accuracy by the line judge’s eye, which leads to many controversies.
Because of this, it is finally resolved with the introduced of “Hawk Eye”.

The technical principle is not complicated and it is very precise. The system consists of 8 or 10 high-speed cameras, four computers, and a large screen.

The official name of “Hawk Eye” is “Instant Replay System”, which is first used in tennis. The system consists of 10 cameras that track the flying tennis ball and feedback information to the computer that is connected to it, which then calculates the simulated trajectory.

When a player has objected to the umpire’s decision and applies for playback, the computer-simulated trajectory will be displayed on both the TV and the large screen.

From data collection to results demonstration, the “Hawk Eye” takes no more than 10 seconds and the error is guaranteed to be less than 1%.

Once you are qualified to be a line judge, you will not need any additional training. The line judge can accumulate their judging skill and experience by taking part in more jobs in more important tournaments.

There is no retirement age for line judges. As long as your health and your eyes are in good condition, you can get the position.

What Do The Officials Wear In Badminton?

The uniforms of badminton officials need to be well distinguished with the players. Also, their shit colors cannot be too bright in accordance with the rules of badminton. To make it have clear differences, badminton officials are wearing a single color polo shirt with black pants.

Linesmen or service judges are not the limelight for the sport, thus they are allowed to wear less formal attire. However, they still need to put a decent uniform on for a competition to be presentable.

Now, it is very common for the officials wearing sponsored badminton uniforms.

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