Officials DEVELOPMENT Programme

Event Organisers and competitors expect Obstacle Sports Race Officials (“Officials”) to know the competition rules and behave in a professional manner. 


There are three basic expectations for officials in the Programme:


  • Knowledge and understanding of the competition rules
  • Knowledge and compliance with policies and procedures
  • Professional behaviour


Certified Officials are held accountable to meet these expectations.


Officials Certification


Training and certification of officials is central to FISO's goal of ensuring fair and safe Competition opportunities for athletes. The training and certification processes promote a serious and professional approach to officiating and demonstrate an official's commitment to excellence. As an official gains experience and additional training, FISO recognises skill development through four (4)  levels of certification.


Officials work with diverse populations and face demands from their athletes, parent’s, guardians, administrators, the media and spectators. They fulfil a variety of roles including mentor, educator, technical advisor, psychologist and race managers. 


Certification Requirements


1.  Complete the appropriate rules review (on-line test)

2.  Complete SafeSport training (on-line programme)

3.  Complete a background check or equivalent as required in your country

4.  Provide a current digital photo (headshot)

5.  Complete any additional requirements established by your national federation

The development of competent and effective Officials is critical for the healthy development of obstacle sports and its athletes. The FISO Officials Programme has five key objectives: 

1. To grow and develop the sport globally by making officials education accessible to all National Federations (NF’s) and their members;

2. Providing a framework for Officials education and development for NF’s to develop obstacle sports in their country with effective Officials from grassroots to world level events;

3. Providing a development system to increase Official’s competence and effectiveness through international standards, 

4. To provide a mechanism by which Officials from all NFs can progress along the Officiating pathway, 

5. Quality assurance by providing standards in a flexible framework that adapts to the large range of obstacle disciplines and events. 


The FISO Officials Development Programme is designed to ensure all elements remain relevant and capable of producing effective, top quality Officials globally who meet the needs of events at every level and assist them to perform to their potential. 


FISO Officials Development Programme


To become a FISO Official, candidates must complete a World OCR Officials Development Programme (the “Programme”) course. Courses are held in conjunction with sanctioned events and that have FISO certified officials officiating the race(s). 


There is one course for each Programme level, consists of four (4) hours of classroom lecture, discussion and a practicum. Participants must complete an on-line written test and practical evaluation to be certified. Classroom portions of the clinics are taught on the day or evening prior to the event. On race day, the course participants are assigned to marshal a portion of the race, under the supervision of a certified official. Officials uniforms are issued on or before race day.

Upon completion of the Officials Certification Clinic (classroom, examination and race practicum), the graduate is classified as a Category 4 Official. Cat 4 Officials have 12 months from the date they attend a clinic to become fully certified as Cat 3 Official. Full certification requires the Cat 4 Official to work an additional two races under a World OCR official's supervision, in a volunteer capacity. To remain active, Cat 1, 2 or 3 officials may be required to attend a certification clinic every two years and to successfully pass a certification examination.


Races Requiring Officials


Only federation championship events are required by FISO to have officials. However, every federation sanctioned race is required to enforce the Competition Rules. Race directors may contract to have FISO certified officials present.


Delegation of Officials


The Regional Officials Coordinators choose the officiating team for FISO events where officials are requested. The most experienced officials are assigned to FISO championships at the national, continental and world level.


Function of Officials


Trained officials enforce rules and in-competition fairness for the athletes. Race directors rely on officials so they can focus on producing safe and efficient events.


Organization structure


The Program is governed by the Officials Committee. Each continental zone is managed by the Officials Committee member representing their zone. The Chairman and each of the continental members work with their national federations, race directors, and athletes to provide officials for sanctioned events and championships.


Officials Categories


There are four (4) categories of officials, starting at Category 4 (CAT 4) and progressing to CAT 1. CAT 4 officials are capable of officiating at local and regional events under supervision. CAT 1 officials are capable of officiating at world level events and international multisport Games.


Officials must progress sequentially through the categories as described below. Dispensation may be granted for officials with experience or accreditation in other sports, for example running, triathlon, climbing, cycling etc.


CAT 4

  • Demonstrate a sincere interest in officiating
  • Be in good physical condition and be capable of standing / walking for several hours
  • National background check (as may be required to meet national laws)
  • Complete a written examination of the Competition Rules
  • Complete classroom sessions
  • Participate in the race practicum(s)
  • Be recommended by a certified official


Note:CAT 4 officials are probationary. Evaluation by the FISO officials determine whether the official will remain in the program or be promoted to CAT 3.


CAT 3

  • Assist in a minimum of two (2) events within 12 months, supervised by a CAT 3 or higher official
  • Practical (applied) knowledge of the Competition Rules
  • Complete certification clinic every two (2) years
  • Pass the CAT 3 exam
  • Annual SafeSport Training

CAT 2

  • Serve as a CAT 3 Official for at least 12 months
  • Serve as a CAT 3 Official at a National Championships
  • Officiate a minimum of six (6) sanctioned events 
  • Act as head official at two (2) events as a CAT 3 Official
  • Be recommended by a CAT 3 or higher official
  • A complete understanding of the Competition Rules
  • Pass the CAT 2 exam
  • Complete a certification clinic every two (2) years
  • Annual SafeSport Training

CAT 1

  • Serve as a CAT 2 Official for at least 12 months
  • Serve as a CAT 2 Official at a Continental Championships
  • Officiate a minimum of eight (8) sanctioned events 
  • Act as head official at four (4) events as a CAT 2 Official
  • Be recommended by a CAT 2 or higher official
  • Mastery of the Competition Rules
  • Pass the CAT 1 exam
  • Complete a certification clinic every two (2) years
  • Annual SafeSport Training