Explore your Refereeing World

Tournaments Abroad is a non-profit organization that aims to unite referees with international tournaments with the objective of expanding their refereeing experience and meeting new cultures both on and off the pitch. Referees in their own right are unique and extraordinary, usually inspired by an internal and natural desire to follow such a passion. Pursuing refereeing abroad with colleagues from across the globe is, in our opinion, the zenith of such a passion.

Joining the project is easy!

Tournaments Abroad welcomes referees from all backgrounds and countries, and all levels.

The majority of our tournaments accept all levels of referees and so this presents a fantastic opportunity to integrate refereeing with a break from the hassle of daily life. Tournaments can help improve each referee – through meeting new colleagues, refereeing in a new country and culture, officiating teams from all continents across the globe. With tournaments providing accommodation and board, and payment too (this depends on the tournament), there is no reason not to try one out.

Want to know more? 

Take a look to our FAQs which explain how “Tournaments Abroad” works.

And read our President’s interview on two of the most important international refereeing blogs.

“Becoming a more complete referee at Tournaments Abroad” – The Third Team

“How you can become an international referee yourself” – Dutch Referee Blog

Where do the tournaments take place?

Mainly in Europe, over an array of countries ranging from Spain to Denmark via France, but also in North America, in the USA and Canada, and now in China too. See our complete tournament list.

Is there a minimum age to participate in the tournament?

Yes, though it varies from tournament to tournament. Usually you must be 18 years of age but some tournaments also accept referees at 15, 16 and 17. Please contact us before applying in case you are under 18 and we will provide you with all relevant information.

What’s included?

Not many tournaments pay referees, namely only the American tournaments. The vast majority of events however offers everything else: full board, accommodation and transportation to the pitches and airport. The referee, beside the Tournaments Abroad tournament fee, must usually only fund the flight, and the tournament provides everything else!

Tournaments do not supply referee kits, so make sure you bring your own ones! We strongly recommend that referees bring more than one colour of referee top, as teams can wear any colour (i.e. the no-black rule doesn’t apply, as in England).

How is the travel organised?

Each referee will have to organise themselves in regard to travel to and from the tournament, once they receive confirmation of acceptance. Of course, we will provide assistance in this process if desired and ample information will be given about getting to each tournament. Confirmed travel details must be sent to Tournaments Abroad at least 60 days prior to the start date of the tournament.

How can I subscribe for a tournament?

You simply need to use the form found on the tournament page. We will then promptly respond to you regarding acceptance or otherwise.

Is acceptance for any given tournament automatic?

No – each tournament has limits on the number of referees, varying with each tournament. Each application will be considered and we will respond to you promptly regarding your acceptance or otherwise. Usually the enrollment will be on a first-come first-serve basis – so the earlier you apply, the greater chance you have. Some tournaments also have level restrictions; in these cases this information will be provided on the specific tournament page on our website.

What happens if I can no longer participate in a tournament?

Please tell us promptly so a replacement can be found, and at least 60 days prior to the start of the tournament, exceptional circumstances excluded. Failure to do so without good reason will mean you are unlikely to be considered for future tournaments.

What’s the procedure once accepted?

Once accepted, we may ask you to send via email a copy of your referee certificate or license or letter from your local association, stating you are a registered referee. All tournaments require that referees are qualified. Referees under the age of 18, where accepted, will need parental permission to attend. Ask permission from your local or national association. This is a formality for British referees as the relative FAs are keen for their referees to explore the world while officiating. However, other countries may insist on asking them for permission first.

You will then need to pay the Tournaments Abroad tournament fee, via the link provided on the specific tournament page. This must be done at least 60 days prior to the tournament. Failing to do so will mean losing your place at the tournament.

Then all is left is to book flights! This must be done six weeks before the start of the tournament, and the relevant travel itinerary submitted to Tournaments Abroad within that time frame.

We ask all referees to consider fully the dedication required before confirming their participation – i.e. thinking about:

1) Flights – please look at available flights and their cost. They might be too expensive, and this is not a problem as long as you look far enough in advance and inform us. We offer a free flight advice service, which includes helping find the cheapest flights and best routes. Just email us and we will gladly help you!

We now require referees to forward Tournaments Abroad their flight itineraries, at least six weeks before the tournament start date, in order to verify the participation of the referee and also to forward onto the tournament the times of arrival/departure in case of collection from the airport, distribution of finals on the last day, etc.

2) Dates – don’t dedicate yourself if you think you might have to pull out citing other appointments. Please inform us promptly if you cannot participate (at least six weeks prior to the tournament)!

3) Age – most tournament have age limits, usually no higher than 18. Some tournaments accept 16-17 year olds too; just contact us if you are not sure which are which.

4) Contact – The tournaments listed on our website have given Tournaments Abroad the right to provide them with a certain and defined number of referees. Thus, you do not need to bother the tournament themselves with numerous emails with questions or requests to referee. We will be able to answer all of your questions and organize the referee list for foreign, international officials. This ensures easier organization and management both for us and the tournaments themselves.

What is the TA Referee Academy?

You may have noticed on our tournament list that some of our events are labeled as “Elite”. This means participation is reserved for those referees belonging to our new and exciting referee development project – the TA Referee Academy.

If you are interested in knowing more about it, or how to apply, make sure you check the dedicated page on our website.

What are the TA Referee Levels?

Since 2017 we have been slowly introducing the “TA referee levels” as a way to compare the levels of refereeing of officials across countries and leagues. While we expect this system to become fully operational only in 2019, calculations are currently being made to eventually assign to each referees his/her level.

You can read more about the “TA Referee Levels” work here.