How to become a referee

If you love snooker and want to get involved in the sport, a great way to do so is to become a referee. But where do you begin?

We spoke to leading World Snooker referee and assessor Brendan Moore, together with fellow referee and former English Association of Snooker and Billiards (EASB) Director for referees Rob Spencer, who explain below how you can start your journey, perhaps one day to the Crucible!

First steps

There are regional governing bodies across the world, for example in Europe this is the European Billiards and Snooker Association.

Within these bodies are individual National Governing Bodies (NGB), such as the China Billiards and Snooker Association (CBSA). The first step is to establish who your NGB is and once you have done this, to contact them and request further information from them.

In England the NGB is the EASB and as an example, below we set out the process of becoming a snooker referee in England.

Becoming a snooker referee in England

To begin your journey you will need to contact the EASB to find out who your local examiner is and then get in touch with them so that they can arrange a seminar for you to attend.

Before you go to the seminar, you will need to buy the current rule book to read and familiarise yourself with the rules.

Photo of Rob Spencer

What happens at seminars?

You will need to attend two seminars. During the first seminar the examiner will go through the rulebook with you word for word, explaining certain key words and sentences so you fully understand their meaning.

A week later you will attend seminar two, where the examiner explains the rules at a snooker table in greater depth.

Once you have completed both seminars, you will be ready to take your Class 3 examination.

The Class 3 snooker referee examination process

Your examiner will advise you of the time, date and location for your Class 3 examination. In England this is a standardised exam. It covers all aspects of the rule book. The examiner will ask questions which will be both verbal and scenario based. The scenarios will be demonstrated at the table.

At the end of the exam you will be notified immediately if you have passed. If you have failed you will be given feedback and will be able to retake the exam at a later date. If you have passed, congratulations!

I’ve passed, now what?

You have now passed your Class 3 exam and have proved that you have a sufficient knowledge of the rules to referee. Your examiner will register you with the NGB and will provide details of the local referee association. Most examiners are also tutors who will provide advice and ongoing mentoring.

You now need to learn how to referee at the table. The only way to do this is to gain experience. There are a number of ways to do this, most people begin with local league matches. At these your local tutor and assessor can monitor your performance and provide coaching. Once you feel more confident you can register your interest with the NGB who can provide opportunities at national tournaments which vary from junior level to the top amateurs in the country.

How do I become a professional referee?

Don’t try and rush things, take your time. Refereeing at the highest level isn’t as easy as it may appear. Give yourself at least two years working your way up from local league level to refereeing for your NGB gaining valuable experience.

If then you feel you are ready for the next step, send your CV to World Snooker stating your refereeing career to date. If possible, attach references from your tutor and/or NGB.

If successful, you may be invited to referee at Q School where you will be assessed by the World Snooker Assessors.

Photo of Brendan Moore