Women play an important role as game officials in basketball, and the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has launched work to develop female referees at all levels.
As part of ensuring that women can continue their refereeing careers while living a good life off the court, FIBA, basketball’s world governing body, launched the FIBA Referee Maternity Plan for 2023.
FIBA Referee President Carl Jungebrand said: “Our research has raised a legitimate concern about the potential for FIBA female referees to be excluded from refereeing activities during maternity leave. This gave us a signal to develop a strategy and plan to keep female referees in office and to eliminate any exclusion based on maternal status. For both FIBA and national federations, our aim should be to offer the same access to training, promotion and other activities according to the referees’ physical condition. We believe we will achieve this with the FIBA Referee Maternity Plan.”
Many surveys and discussions were held in 2020 and 2021 as part of FIBA’s strategic priority, the Women in Basketball project, and more specifically the goal of developing and empowering women coaches and staff. As a result of these, concerns about the dismissal of female referees in pregnancy and maternity leave arose. That’s why FIBA has developed a referee birth plan that focuses on assisting female referees in their refereeing career, while also providing relevant guidelines for national federations and ensuring full participation during maternity leave.
FIBA encourages all national federations to include and support their referees in other ways during their maternity leave periods. This can be achieved by involving them in activities such as referee trainer courses, desk clerks courses and mentoring programmes.
As a result, female referees on maternity leave can be included in the FIBA Game Officials License if they wish. This guarantees that they will be included in the licensing procedure after giving birth and on maternity leave, provided they meet other required requirements for game officer candidates.
Currently, eight cases have been identified that fall under the FIBA Maternity Plan for FIBA Game Officials Licensing for 2023-25.