Green Shirt Program

Green Shirt Program


The major aims of the Green Shirt Program are:

  • Make new officials easily identifiable, so that they are easy to recognise and support. The objective being that people will identify that these officials are learning and will be tolerant of mistakes.
  • Promote this program to the basketball community to raise awareness and increase the recognition and support of new officials.
  • Assist in reducing pressure and lessening abuse and conflict directed towards new officials. Create a culture of support towards these new officials via the education of players, spectators, coaches and the media.

The message for the program, “I‘m wearing green so please don’t see red” simply means that if you see officials wearing a green referee shirt then it is important for you to know they are beginners and as a “learner” they may make more mistakes than normal.


Most sports have difficulty recruiting, training and retaining officials. Between 1997 and 2001, the number of officials in Australian sport dropped 26%. A recent survey conducted by the Australian Sports Commission identified that harassment, abuse and lack of respect for officials were major causes of the declining number of people officiating. In an effort to improve the retention of officials in South Australia, the Office for Recreation and Sport piloted a Coloured Shirt Program, which was based on a program that had been initiated by the SA National Football League. Basketball South Australia was involved in the pilot, which demonstrated improved results in retaining officials.

BVC Referee Development

Our referee numbers are not currently at an acceptable level and we all need to support our beginner officials, after all, once these trainees are given their stripes, all associations want them to remain on our rosters. This both helps shortages and is also crucial for them to develop as a referee.

After completion of a beginners referee course there are further steps in training beginners.

Firstly you will observe referees as a ‘shadow’, running with another more experienced referee beside them in order to further learn their craft.

Secondly, trainees who have proved independent of their senior mentors are appointed as apprentice referees. These referees remain in a green shirt and appear to be trainees, although they do not require a senior referee to be standing next to them, instead their senior mentor will run opposite them as their partner referee. If you have concerns regarding a trainee or apprentice referee, attempt to approach the senior referee first or the referee supervisor as these concerns may be addressed or clarification provided.

Finally, it is disappointing to witness or hear of certain behaviours from players or coaches arguing or shouting at green shirt trainees/apprentices. It is important to realise that the most likely outcome of intimidating a young referee is that they lose their confidence to blow their whistle and in fact, the referee will make even less calls.

Karin Berrysmith BVC Referee Development Officer

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