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Role of a badminton umpire

Updated February 21, 2017

According to the Oxford Badminton Club website a badminton umpire is in charge of a badminton match, the court and its surrounding area. A badminton umpire is responsible for the laws of badminton being adhered to by the players, officials and spectators involved in a match.

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The U.K.'s North East Badminton Association reports the majority of badminton matches are played with the players being responsible for adhering to the rules of the game themselves. All players taking part in tournaments are expected to know the rules of badminton and play to the rules. In tournament play an umpire is often used to officiate as a tournament moves into the later stages. North East Badminton reports the main role of an umpire is to ensure a safe and fair game is played, to keep track of the score and declare a winner of the match.


The Oxford Badminton Club reports law 17 of the laws of badminton refer to the officials involved in the game. The role of the umpire is described under the laws of badminton as being the official in charge of a match who reports to the referee, who is in charge of the overall tournament. The main responsibilities of the umpire are the calling of lets and faults and ensuring the laws of the game are administered throughout a match. The umpire is also responsible for giving a decision on a point of dispute between the players in a match. Disputes must be resolved before the next serve in the match and if a dispute arises at the end of a match a dispute must be resolved before the players leave the court.

Match Duties

According to the Smallmex Sports & Academy website, the duties of an umpire during a match include updating the players and spectators of the score and progress of a match. This is achieved by the umpire calling out the score between points. The umpire is responsible for calling a fault, when a point is awarded to an opponent or let, meaning the point is replayed.


A badminton umpire is often called upon to serve as a service judge in games where they are not officiating as an umpire. The North East Badminton Association explains that when an umpire believes a player has an illegal serve a service judge can be called onto the court to monitor the suspect serve and call fault when the serve is deemed to be illegal. The Oxford Badminton Club explains that when a line judge is unsighted it is the responsibility of the umpire to take on the responsibility of the line judge and give a decision of either fault or let if a decision cannot be made.


The badminton umpire works closely with the referee of a tournament to ensure the laws of the game are upheld. The Oxford Badminton Club reports an umpire can refer a problem within a match to the referee for a final decision if the umpire cannot make a decision.

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About the Author

Paul Cartmell

Paul Cartmell began his career as a writer for documentaries and fictional films in the United Kingdom in the mid-1990s. Working in documentary journalism, Cartmell wrote about a wide variety of subjects including racism in professional sports. Cartmell attended the University of Lincoln and London Metropolitan University, gaining degrees in journalism and film studies.

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