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Table Tennis Officials

by John from Manchester, UK - and -
(Dainelle Cuario from Calamba, Laguna, Philippines)

Table tennis questions


My question is about table tennis officials.

Can you please tell me who are the officials in table tennis and their duties?

What do the umpires of table tennis have to do?


----- Martin's Reply -----


John and Dainelle,

Thanks for your questions.

The officials are all volunteers who give up their time to officiate at table tennis events.

There are currently around 180 International Referees and 300 International Umpires, and each country will also have their own referees and umpires.


The top official is the Tournament Referee.

The role of a tournament referee differs widely from one Association to another and from one tournament to another.

At one extreme he or she is involved in every part of the organisation, from drafting the entry form to arranging the finals.

At the other extreme, the referee appears only on the day of the tournament solely to decide any question of rule interpretation.

In the past few years the situation has been complicated by the practice of appointing a competition manager at major competitions, such as World Tour tournaments.

It is usual to appoint one or more deputy referees, who exercise the authority of the referee in defined ways.

For instance, they may be required simply to take the referee's place in his or her absence, to be responsible for particular topics, such as the legality of clothing and equipment, or to take charge of a particular area, such as a separate playing hall.

It is essential for the referee and the deputies to agree at the start of a competition what their duties will be.

The objective of every referee must be to ensure that the tournament for which he or she is responsible proceeds according to plan, in full compliance with the relevant rules and without incident.

This ideal situation seldom occurs and the true test of a referee's ability is the way in which he or she deals with problems.

The referee's task is to listen to the various points of view and then to make, and to keep to, the fairest possible decision.


Umpires

For each match there is an umpire, whose primary duty is to decide the result of each rally.

In principle, the umpire has no discretionary powers, but he is required to exercise judgment in applying some laws and regulations, such as deciding whether a rally should be a let because a player's service or return may have been affected by circumstances outside the player's control, or whether a player's behaviour is acceptable.

Where the umpire is officiating alone, his is the final decision on all questions of fact that arise during a match, including decisions on all edge balls and on all aspects of service.

In these circumstances he is directly responsible also for timing the duration of play, but when the expedite system is in operation he is assisted by another official who acts as stroke counter.


Assistant Umpire

For international competitions an assistant umpire is appointed and he takes over or shares some of the umpire's duties.

For example, an assistant umpire is solely responsible for decisions on edge balls at the side of the table nearest to him, and he has the same power as the umpire to decide the legality of a player's service action, whether a player obstructs the ball and some of the conditions for a let.


More Information


For more details about table tennis officials, and how to become an official, see my other article here...
www.allabouttabletennis.com/officials-in-table-tennis.html


For more information about umpires hand signals, you can read more here...
www.allabouttabletennis.com/umpires hand signals


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