Referee Welcome

Welcome to the referee section of the Nelson Bays Football website. In forming the referee pages of the web site, our aim is to create an easy accessible avenue for people to join the refereeing ranks and also provide information for the general football fraternity and existing referees. 


Football is the world’s most played and most popular sport, and also one of New Zealand's. There are over 135,000 participants across all strands but, while coaches and players are key to the game, so is another group – referees.

In New Zealand, there is a clear pathway to help you achieve your goals while contributing to the success and enjoyment of players, coaches and fans along the way. There are 6 levels of New Zealand Football referee classification:

Refereeing is for all ages and for both male and female. At the moment, we have referees that range from the teens to the 70s. The younger you start, the better as there are some great pathways as a referee and assistant referee. 

Sign up for either a Community Referee or Level One Referee course. Contact us for more information


A short introduction to the Laws of the Game for those interested in the way the game is officiated and who wish to learn a little more. Please click here for more info.



New referees go through this induction course before becoming available for appointments to a game. The course is essentially ‘Refereeing 101’, covering the basic requirements to referee a game. You can then officiate in youth and local senior football, and progress to Level 2 quite quickly.


This is achieved through a field-based assessment. Candidates must demonstrate competency in eight areas, particularly relevant to fair play and the safety of players. From here you will get the chance to be an Assistant Referee at the higher level, and based on your performance (and passing the fitness test), you may be appointed to Southern League (SL) games.


This is a more advanced accreditation course for those who wish to continue their development and referee at higher levels of the game.

There are opportunities for you to referee in Division 1 and in Christchurch, Canterbury Premier League (CPL) level.

There are paths for promotion both as a Referee and Assistant Referee. At the highest levels, this often requires a referee to choose on which direction he or she wants to pursue, with help from assessors of course. At this stage, you will have been selected to attend week-long National Referee Development Academies ( RDA3), which will help you make the right choice.


This is a more extensive field-based assessment, which requires recommendation from assessors. You will be required to referee two games at CPL or SL level, passing the mandatory requirements in both games. Candidates must also pass a fitness test. The next step here involves officiating in the Men's and Women’s Leagues.


This is a course that qualifies candidates to referee at the highest domestic leagues and makes them eligible for nomination to international games.


This is the ultimate goal for officials and provides a world of opportunities, such as international fixtures throughout Oceania. After that, the world awaits, with FIFA tournaments including FIFA World Cups and Olympic Games on offer for top officials!

To be nominated as a referee, you need to be at least 25 years and 23 for assistant referees and at most 40 years old on January 1 for the year first nominated. Each year the candidate needs to be re-nominated and undergo medical tests as well as the FIFA fitness test. There is no retirement age, but FIFA reserves the right to require referees over the age of 45 to undergo additional technical assessments as well as specific medical examinations and fitness testing on a case by case basis.


Alongside the referee pathway, a similar road exists for assessors, who can impart their knowledge and experience to those at lower levels, either once they themselves have finished active refereeing or as they progress along the pathway. Instructors, assistant referees and futsal referees all have clear, transparent pathways similar to referees.

From March 2023.......

In the past NBF have required that all teams from 10th grade up to 19th grade provide a qualified referee to adjudicate at least half a game every fixture.

This means that all senior teams need to have at least three members of the team (preferably all members) that have at least a Community Referee (CR) qualification.

We would really like to see all Youth players, Coaches and Managers from 14th Grade & above doing at least this course.

This is about clubs recognising the benefit of their members having a better understanding not just of the rules of the game but how they should be applied to situations that arise and allowing safe play.

It's easy, as these courses can be done online and at home in your own time, so click on the link below to take you to the courses web page, where you can register for and access the course.

The game needs more neutral referees (including desparately needing more female referees) and it would be great to eventually provide a referee for every game played in the Nelson Bays. The level 1 referee courses are recommended for this. Again, most of the content is online, with a 3 hour face to face session on the date set for the course (the online component needs to be completed by this date).

If you are interested in becoming a referee, whether to referee seniors, women, juniors, become a (club) Community referee or just learn the Laws of the Game, please click here for more info.