Umpire Tips and Expectations

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Officials must place the safety and welfare of the students above all else.

Officials must be on time for all matches assigned to them.

Officials must understand the Association Rules, Regulations and Codes of Conduct for the sport they are officiating.

Officials must maintain complete impartiality with respect to all players at all times.

Officials must at all times conduct themselves in a professional and ethical manner, giving due regard to the coaches, staff members and students

Officials must operate within the rules and spirit of sport, promoting fair play over winning at any cost.

Officials must encourage and support opportunities for people to learn appropriate behaviours and skills.

Officials must support opportunities for participation in all aspects of the sport.

Officials must treat each person as an individual.

Officials must display control and courtesy to all involved with the sport.

Officials must respect the rights and worth of every person regardless of their gender, ability, cultural background or religion.

Officials must adopt appropriate and responsible behaviour in all interactions.

Officials must act with integrity and objectivity, and accept responsibility for their decisions and actions.

Officials must ensure their decisions and actions contribute to a safe environment.

Officials must not tolerate harmful or abusive behaviours, such as swearing.

Dispute Resolution

The following extract from SSCUA outlines effective dispute resolution techniques for cricket umpires which can be implemented into any sport.

These comments and guidelines have been compiled mainly with the aim of helping new umpires handle issues of conflict and potential breaches of the Code of Conduct. If you are a more experienced umpire we hope that you will gain some reassurance (and provide some constructive feedback that will help us refine the document further).

Conflicts and man management issues can be a significant source of stress for umpires. This can have a direct impact on your own performance and the better you handle them, the more you will enjoy your day. If you have had a bad experience during a game, even strong conflict between yourself and a player or his captain, your partner and the body of umpires are here to help you deal with the issue. Be reassured that poor behaviour from a player does not define your performance on the day. And every lousy day is more than matched by a greater number of days where you will be genuinely appreciated.

In the main, players accept that we umpires have a difficult job to do and they will generally want what we want: a tough game played in good spirit. Keep in mind that the control of players in a team is always the responsibility of the captain. If he is acting to control an issue leave him alone unless he is unable to do so. We must not act to diminish his authority.


Act early. It is easier to resolve issues by acting as soon as any unacceptable player behaviour is detected. Usually a simple word to the player(s) does the trick. Strong but neutrally expressed positive steps are the best approach.

Set clear boundaries and stick to them. The Preamble to the Laws and the provisions of Law 42 (unfair play) demand a set of standards of acceptable behaviour that we are obliged to enforce as we would enforce any of the other Laws.

Follow through if you have to. Players do not respect you if you talk strongly on the field and then decide not to proceed with the appropriate action after the match. They can detect inconsistency. In their minds it reflects on all umpires, and they will have less faith in our abilities to be consistent in our other decision-making roles.

Remember your role is as a witness to the game, not to ‘dish out punishment’.

There are several types of dispute that can arise. Most common is the conflict between players that tends to escalate gradually. If you do see matters becoming difficult here is a step-by-step way to handle them.




In the event of low-level unacceptable behaviour act immediately and escalate if necessary as follows
1) Talk to the player(s). Have a quiet word with the player(s) involved, so others can’t hear. In the vast majority of cases this is all that is required. For a batsman talk to him when he’s the non-striker. For a bowler, talk to him immediately so that he understands that what has happened is unacceptable. If you feel it will be more effective to allow the situation to calm down talk to him at the start of the next over
2) If the player does not respond correctly talk to his captain. Remember if the player at fault is a batsman, he acts for the batting captain. Between overs, have a quiet word away from others. Most captains will take action and no more is needed. Reinforce with the captain that the resolution lies with him and it is his first responsibility to solve the matters at hand.
3) If the player still does not respond correctly, tell your partner Tell your partner what has happened without stopping the game; find a time that looks casual. This ensures that if the same happens to your partner he knows the player has already been talked to. It also means you are both prepared if you do have to take more serious action.

This level of minor, but unacceptable behaviour may continue without demanding a strong sanction from you, so you may need to use this process a couple of times before moving to the next level.

If the problem continues, escalates into further unacceptable behaviour or is immediately unacceptable
Inform the captain and the player that the matter is serious and that it must be resolved without delay. Further action will be considered at the end of the day’s play. Always do this in conjunction with your partner Make detailed notes of the time, overs the cause of the dispute etc. and the content of any discussion.


If the matter is very serious in its initial manifestation, for example if there were physical conflict or a display of clear dissent aimed at an umpire, then you must act decisively and immediately. Do not put off decisive actions simply because there have been no preliminary issues. The conduct of the game must be consistent right from the first ball. Just as a batsman can be out off the first ball of the day so serious action might be needed to manage a player’s behaviour from the first ball of the day.


•               Act calmly, but firmly at all times.

•               Always use moderate language.

•               Talk to the players, not at them.

•               Talk to the players with the same level of respect that we expect from them.

•               Deal with the behaviours. Don’t take sides or judge the reasons behind issues.

•               Talk to each player about the behaviour you want from him. Don’t get involved in arguments about what another player did.

•               Before the game, become acquainted with both captains and (especially if you or they are new) explain to them that there may be times during the game when you will need their help. Explain to them that we expect the match will be played with a high level of competitiveness but even so that they are obliged to ensure the game is played within the spirit if the game.

•               Act early before an issue has developed momentum – it’s much easier to put out a small fire than a furnace. Issues can escalate because they were not addressed at the start; it’s a bit late to demand a different behaviour now from the one you expected earlier. If you tolerate personal abuse early in a game it’s difficult for players to understand why the standard has changed at a later stage.

•               Watch and listen for potential flashpoints. Remember that we are dealing with men and not children. Treat them with an understanding of the state of the game that may have generated the conflict issue.

•               Be aware of the interpersonal relationships at play. Some players have a history of conflict; others are close friends who use verbal jousts as a part of their relationship. If you notice something, check with your partner to see if he knows any background.

•               When a player asks you a direct question, whatever the tone, or your suspicions of any sarcastic intent, always give them a straight answer. A good decision can be ruined by a bad explanation – keep it brief, polite and to the facts. Avoid sarcastic or smart arse comments.

•               When you do have to take further and potentially serious action, tell the players that we will discuss with them at the end of the day what, if any, action we will take including the possibility of them being reported for a possible breach of the Code of Conduct.

•               Carefully note the events that have triggered the problem, as this is evidence that may be used by a judiciary.


•               Don’t start a game with a general warning regarding what is and is not acceptable behaviour; captains clearly understand the parameters.

•               Don’t play favourites. Just because a player has treated you well up to the conflict do not assume he is innocent, or give his behaviour preferential treatment.

•               Don’t allow yourself to make a judgment of who is in the right or wrong; that role may belong to a judiciary at a later stage.

•               Do not fail to act further if the players do not respond as required.

•               Don’t issue threats during the game (eg ‘If you do that once more, we will put you on report.’). Just tell them what we expect and give them an opportunity to adjust their behaviour. Threats can escalate a deterioration of the relationship between the players and the umpires.

•               Don’t attempt to prove who’s the boss – anyway, it’s not us.

Some possible phrases you can use to defuse tense situations :

•                “You know I sometimes struggle just counting up to six, so can you do something for me? Have a word with your guys about improving their behaviour for me please”. But be specific.

•               To the captain, when there is a problem with the team: “… Can you help me out with that?” or “… Can you keep an eye on that for me?”

•               “I understand that you’re disappointed, but there is not going to be a change of mind from me or my partner so let’s just get on and see how things work out with the next ball”


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