Clickbait title to open a large discussion about the refs. This thread is open to any suggestions to figure out something about this difficult job.


The ref discussion is a big issue in bikepolo. I think we need to support refs and stop asking everyone to ref since some people (myself included) really can’t do it. I have many reasons for it and I don’t want to be forced to do anything I feel I can’t do.

This is the 2nd year with RBP that we offer to pay travel fees, food and hosting to refs so we can have people to do this. This year, no one answered our call so players (Dodi, Samir and Quentin) offered their time to do it. They did a solid job all along the tournament and some people helped them a bit, which was really nice. Thanks again to all those who helped on this.

So :

  • I am pro “support your ref” and am totally ok to know that a part of my registrations fees go to their train ticket or anything.
  • I think not all players can ref because of their own good reasons.
  • I’m anti “you play, then you ref” because of these two previous points and because not everyone is able to do everyhing.
  • The best solution to me would be to have people who just ref and don’t play (at least the tournament they’re reffing) like we see in many sports. But yes, that’s easy for me to say as I don’t want to ref. Yet, I know some people love this.

In fact it seems like a good idea, having referees referred to referee but in reality it seems very complicated to me to put in place because we are a sport which cruelly lacks resources.

I think the problem is elsewhere. Most people who refuse to referee do so because they don’t want to take the heat from the players on court.I think I can say that the intensity of a match should not be an excuse for being unpleasant or insulting to a referee.

When you watch basketball for example, you open your mouth a little too much, you take a technical foul, the opposing team gets the ball.

Faults should also be hierarchized and sanctioned with appropriate sanctions depending on their severity, in particular to protect players who are victims of unsportsmanlike and/or intentional and/or unnecessary fouls or even excessive contact. another point that could be developed is the monitoring of faults in a tournament and not just in a match.

I would also like to say that it is not only a story of ego or toxicity, when there is an issue we must also understand the importance that a player has to perform, I have seen for some time Days of people point out this or that player unfairly and many be in the judgment to blame, do not mix everything up, be careful not to become like the one you are fighting.



  • shouting ARAB after a ref had to make a tough call. It is already hard enough for them. In fact, let´s stop with ARAB as a whole (auĂźer Django!).
    :heart: to Samir trying to get the crowd to stop shouting ARAB last year in Berlin.
  • talking to refs from the other side of the court. Don´t add unnecessary strain on their voices by having to shout back. Get close to them and talk respectfully.
  • verbally abusing refs for your mistakes.
  • holding refs to impossibly high standards. It is OK if refs make mistakes.

(Let´s work on a Referee Wiki (a thread on Poloverse that can be edited by everyone) including a list of DO / DO NOT and other useful information for referees and polo players.


also shouting arab is as insensitive as shooting bouchard al asad

but mateen sometimes the ref is wrong and its not ok, like when a ref decide he can take on a full court of 6 players by himself and not get any goal ref , its a huge mistake that go against the ruleset.

when a goal ref signal a foul and the main ref ignore it , its also a big mistake that is as shameful as a dirty final

paying ref might work for a one court tournament but again, most people think 1 ref is enough, you putting that person in the position of handling a 3 person job, which create that fear of reffing. add this 3/4 courts to ref over 3/4 days and you will understand that this formula isnt valid for every tournament ( and not the important ones)

what if instead we try 6 main ref, one for each player on the court ( but only one whistle :joy:) + an assisstant taking the time and the score ( this person cannot be considered as a pair of eyes on court ) this amount of ref can be only sourced if you pick them in the players crowd.

imo reffing ressources have been under estimated since day one and are still, i have high hope that this year both nah and euro bodies tackle these issues, i believe most nah players that attended whbpc enjoyed the euro ruleset more than the recent nah update they had to deal with.

few points id like to make happen:

  • visual embeded video next to each rules that need a visual explanation, both for player and ref this is something we miss.

-slowly unifying both ruleset since they are so similar and that we have difficulties with everyones interpretations already

  • basically giving players the tools to understand which play is happenning and how fouls are being called rather than creating a “ref mystique” that makes it look like only a few chosen ones can carry out.

@django pointed out another thread related to this issue : Hurdles for new and old Referee's

@Damon @Peers @Cleftintwain
It´s my impression that Australasia managed to establish a culture that has seemingly reduced disrespect towards refs quite a lot.

Could you share what measures were taken to achieve this?


hey Friends, sorry my English, I use google translate…:sweat:

I think that in our community, each person practicing Polo should be able to give their time, their energy in all the tasks involved in a tournament!
set up, dismantle a piece of court
help with serving food.
help referee (principal, assistant, goal ref).

but for me it all happens through communication!

  • before the tournament by explaining the importance of everyone’s investment on the day of the tournament.
  • and the first day, with a briefing from the organizers, on respect and sharing of tasks.

in the interest of the proper functioning of our community​:relaxed::heavy_heart_exclamation:

and that in each club, we support, we encourage, we learn. young players to participate in different community tasks.
including arbitration


I created a Reffing WIKI. Feel free to edit it and add more content.


Reffing in polo is rife with issues. First of all, there are no official refs, which means that every ref, no matter how experienced, is an amateur. Add in weed, booze, and people coming up next to you to chat while you are reffing, and it just gets worse.

Nobody should be verbally abused in any manner.

It is hard, as a player, when reffing is bad and the game feels unfair and dangerous.

So how do we get official refs?

First, we need an organization that provides training and certification. Such an organization needs a way of being funded. I propose that each continental bike polo association charge yearly fees of players who intend to participate in officially sanctioned tournaments to achieve funding of these efforts.

Second, refs need to be paid and need to not be participating in the tournament they are reffing. There needs to be an incentive and no conflict of interest. Since it will be treated as a job, they should be expected to not be under the influence of substances that negatively impact perception or reaction time (for example, weed and booze).

Most of us are adults and if we can afford to buy bikes for bike polo, we can afford paying refs and fees to support the organization of our sport.

Finally, we have rules (in NAH, at least. I currently haven’t the time to learn Euro rules) that penalize players for chirping at refs. These need to be more heavily enforced by refs. They aren’t, so a lot of players (especially myself), chirp at refs in various ways because we aren’t receiving sufficient negative reinforcement. We need to have some rules allowing official challenges and discussion between captains/coaches and refs.

Anyway, that’s my 2 cents.