WINS Partners explore key issues for female sport officials

Posted On 09/05/2022

9th May 2022, Brussels, Belgium: WINS Partners explore key issues for female sports officials at the first face-to-face meeting in Nice, France.

The partners in the WINS project, of which the European Hockey Federation is one, met for their third partner meeting and the first to take place face-to-face, in Nice, France on the 28th and 29th of April 2022.

The main aim of the EU funded WINS project is to address gender equity in sports officiating – across all sports – by undertaking research into issues that affect female officials (referees, umpires, judges, etc) and producing practical solutions which can support organisations responsible for their recruitment, retention, and development.

2022 is the second year of the three-year project and the focus up to now has been a comprehensive programme of research to uncover new knowledge and insights into female officiating which has been traditionally lacking in the sector.

The research phase is led by the University of Portsmouth and Dr. Tom Webb presented the results of the research so far which included the first-ever European survey of female sports officials. The survey was completed by 3264 female officials from 64 countries and initial findings uncovered that:

  • Female officials who responded are generally quite happy, demonstrating a great enthusiasm and passion for officiating
  • Being part of a support network such as an officiating community was particularly important to female officials
  • More personal development opportunities and mentoring could persuade female officials to remain as officials for longer

The themes covered by the survey and discussed by the group included pathways, promotion of opportunities, mentoring and support, training, federation investment, culture, and considerations specific to female officials.

The survey data will be added to the desk research and the results of interviews with staff from federations responsible for officiating to produce the project’s first main output, the “European Research Report on Gender and Officiating”.

The second WINS project output was also discussed in detail at the meeting, the “Compendium of Good Practice” will showcase 10 case studies of good practice in the recruitment, retention, and engagement of female sports officials. This output is led by the European Hockey Federation.

The meeting in Nice was also the opportunity to begin work on the final two outputs of the project, the “Innovative Online Toolkit for the Recruitment and Retention of Female Sports Officials” and the “Mentoring and Leadership Guide for Female Sports Officials”. Sports Officials UK will play a leading role in these outputs which will provide practical support and guidance to sports organisations (federations, leagues, clubs, etc) who engage female officials in any sport.

All partners were delighted to return to in-person meetings in the lovely city of Nice, with French partner AFCAM as the host, and the extended opportunity for debate and exchange that it brings. The partners look forward to continuing this vital project and developing the valuable outputs over the next 18 months which will help to ensure that sports officials are representative of the entire sports community, and further support the gender equality agenda in the European sports sector.

Visit the project web page. 

You can contact the WINS project and ask to be kept informed about developments or to get involved by contacting EOSE at or through the contact form on the website.

Full list of partners – European Observatoire of Sport and Employment (EOSE); International Federation for Sports Officials (IFSO); Association Française du Corps Arbitral Multisports (AFCAM); Sports Officials UK (SOUK); European Athletics; European Hockey Federation (EHF); Dutch Olympic Committee * Dutch Sports Federation (NOC*NSF); University of Portsmouth; National Sports Academy “Vassil Levski” (NSA).


Related Posts

EuroHockey Championships 2023 match schedule updated

EuroHockey Championships 2023 match schedule updated

The European Hockey Federation (EHF) has updated the match schedule for the EuroHockey Championships 2023 to work with broadcast arrangements in Germany and the Netherlands.   The changes see the women’s and men’s finals in Mönchengladbach now set to take place...