The partners in the WINS project met recently to sign off the WINS Research Report into gender and sport officiating which will be published in early 2023.

Over the past two years, under the guidance of Research lead Dr Tom Webb from the University of Portsmouth, four phases of research have been undertaken – a comprehensive literature review, WINS partners’ own desk research, interviews with key officiating stakeholders and the first ever European-wide survey of female sport officials.

There was a fantastic response to the research from the sector, with 3264 responses to the WINS survey from female officials in 64 different countries around the world.

The partners now look forward to publishing the research results, which will be of interest to anyone interested in the development of sport officiating and will add new knowledge to the area of gender equality in sport in Europe.

The research results will also provide a solid evidence base for the other outputs of the WINS project, especially the innovative online toolkit for the recruitment and retention of female sport officials which is currently under development.

Some of the headline results of the survey are as follows:

  • Female officials who completed the WINS survey are generally quite happy, demonstrating a great enthusiasm and passion for officiating
  • Being part of a support network such as an officiating community is particularly important to women officials
  • Around half of the survey respondents disagreed that training and development is targeted at female officials
  • More development of female training instructors is required
  • Support through mentoring requires attention – the majority of female officials did not have a mentor but would like to have one
  • Officiating kit produced specifically for women is not provided for two thirds of female officials who filled the WINS survey
  • Childcare is not routinely provided for female officials – Only 36% of female officials felt that childcare is adequately considered
  • Among the sample, abuse does not appear to be common towards female officials as a group
  • The majority of female officials are not thinking of leaving in the next 12 months. Although if they are thinking of leaving, time commitments, and a lack of support from officiating organisations are two of the primary reasons.

The data collection process generated through the WINS research generated a number of key themes and within the Research Report each of these is considered through the presentation of results, with associated analysis and discussion.

  • Recruitment and retention
  • Motivation to officiate
  • Workforce characteristics
  • Development pathways
  • Positive action and promotion of opportunities
  • Training, development and mentoring
  • Abuse towards women officials
  • Discontinuation and attrition
  • Women officials and the culture of sport
  • Facilities and clothing

The WINS partners who met on 24 November 2022 to sign off the Research Report are excited to present the full results to the sport sector and encourage more debate on how sport can attract and retain more female sport officials through practical solutions.

In addition to the online toolkit for sport organisations, another output of WINS is a Compendium of Good Practice to showcase good examples and case studies of initiatives that are achieving success in the engagement of female officials.

2023 is the final year of the WINS project – watch this space for the publication of the WINS Research Report early in 2023 which will be followed by the Compendium of Good Practice, Innovative Online Toolkit and finally a Guide to Mentoring and Leadership for Female Sport Officials – all to be released to the sector during the year.


Visit the project web page at


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).