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

The main aim of the EU funded WINS project is to address gender equity in sport officiating – across all sports – by undertaking research into issues which 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 from 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 sport 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

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 results of interviews with staff from federations responsible for officiating to produce the projects 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 sport 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 Sport Officials” and the “Mentoring and Leadership Guide for Female Sport Officials”. Sports Officials UK will play a leading role in these outputs which will provide practical support and guidance to sport 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 which 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 sport officials are representative of the entire sports community, and further support the gender equality agenda in the European sport sector.


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Contact details:

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).