Badminton enters era of semi-professional umpires

Robbertus Tommy Oscariano of Indonesia. © Badmintonphoto/BWF
Robbertus Tommy Oscariano of Indonesia. © Badmintonphoto/BWF

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 11, 2021: The Badminton World Federation has announced the first batch of semi-professional umpires. The seven ground-breaking officials include Robbertus Tommy Oscariano of Indonesia and were chosen from 19 candidates.

The umpires were selected by a BWF recruitment panel that interviewed them after examining their grading and appraisal in previous tournaments. Their appointment is a significant moment in over 120 years of competitive badminton as umpiring has all along been on a voluntary basis.

BWF President Poul-Erik Høyer said: “This is an important step towards ensuring that umpiring becomes a viable career. Umpiring has always been voluntary work and, while we greatly value those who continue to volunteer with us, we did feel that, in certain key areas, it was time to have a stronger engagement with them as this involves a lot of hard work and commitment and time away from their regular jobs.

“For badminton to have paid technical officials is huge for the sport. It’s something people have been demanding. This is a great way to achieve consistently high umpiring standards.”

The umpires will participate in workshops and other educational and developmental activities that will help them improve their skills and support the development of technical officials around the world.

The professionalisation of umpires follows a similar step for referees which was started two years ago; both part of a joint plan towards ensuring excellence in officiating. The eight semi-pro refs include Girish Natu of India.