Code of Practice For Athletics Officials


On arrival report to your Chief/Referee and the Meeting Manager

Time of arrival before the start of the meeting

Track ½ hour           Photo finish 1 - 2 hours  
Field 1 hour           Starters/Marksmen ½ hour       
Timekeepers ½ hour:

    1. Be ready for your first event well in advance of its start time
    2. Bring current book of RULES FOR COMPETITION
    3. Bring equipment needed for all weathers
    4. Bring clothing for all weather conditions
    5. Courtesy and cooperation at all times
    6. Be aware of and respond to the needs of other officials
    7. Be considerate to disabled and less agile officials, especially when allocating duties

Grades 1 & 2

  1. be prepared to be chief or referee
  2. be prepared to write reports
  3. assist other grades and upgraded to learn skills and procedures


When upgrading reports are required contact your referee/chief at least one week before the meeting

Process results as quickly as possible

Only cross the centre of the arena when absolutely necessary and when it is safe to do so, especially when throwing events are in progress

When crossing the track or field take care not to impede athletes






Composition of Photo finish Team

  1. The photo finish team should include one Grade 1 Track Judge and/or one Grade 1 Timekeeper
  2. The photo finish team should consist of at least four members, not including the Chief Photo finish Judge. The number may vary according to the type or grade of meeting. The members do not have to be qualified in any athletics official discipline but they should be encouraged to hold such qualifications

Area of Responsibility

  1. The photo finish team shall be independent of both the Track Referee and the Chief Timekeeper
  2. The Chief Photo finish Judge shall be responsible for the allocation of duties to the members of the photo finish team
  3. The Chief Photo finish Judge shall ensure that the camera(s) and associated equipment are placed and set up correctly. They shall also prepare, with the assistance of the Track Referee and Chief Starter, the photo finish system for a zero gun control test
  4. The Chief Photo finish Judge shall be responsible for ensuring that when two cameras on opposite sides of the track are used (as recommended for major meetings) their accuracy is consistent over time and the discrepancy between the cameras does not exceed 2/1000ths of a second
  5. The Photo finish Team should be on prepared to ensure that the equipment is set up and checked before the meeting starts and, if required, input event and competitor details.


  1. After each race the Track Referee and Chief Timekeeper shall convey the placings, including any disqualifications, and times respectively to the Chief Photo finish Judge for correlation with the photo finish result
  2. If there is no discrepancy over placings and no unusual discrepancy between hand and electrical times the Chief Photo finish Judge shall release the full result immediately
  3. In the event of a discrepancy over placings, it is courtesy to inform and invite the Track Referee to view the race image
  4. In the event of an unusual discrepancy over time, the Chief Photo finish Judge shall then decide the official time
  5. The Chief Photo finish Judge shall ensure that the declared result is correctly transmitted to any results system being used
  6. The Chief Photo finish Judge shall convey the official result to the Track Referee and Chief Timekeeper for information and as an aid to their teams
  7. The film/electronic images are confidential information: no film, electronic image or print from any part of a film or electronic image shall be released without the permission of the meeting Manager and the Chief Photo finish Judge. After the meeting the Chief Photo finish Judge shall arrange that the results be stored in a suitable form for future reference.


Track officials should:

  1. Always carry spare equipment i.e. clipboards, pencils, plain paper and lap charts
  2. Ensure all equipment is set out correctly and is safe to use
  3. Ensure all incident reports are made quickly and accurately by the method required by the Referee.
  4. Refer any queries or complaints from a third party (not and official) to the referee.
  5. Liaise with Field Officials where field athletes may be using the track for their rune up when a track event is in progress (i.e. High Jump and Javelin
  6. Do not impede other officials carrying out their duties i.e. 4 x 400m relay. Timekeepers will need to be by the trackside when taking splits on the first change when a long stagger is used at the start



  1. All officials should:


  2. be allocated to events by the appropriate Referee or designated team leader according to experience and qualification. N.B. upgraded officials may officiate only under the direct supervision of a graded official.
  3. be present to supervise warm up prior to the start of their designated event(s), particularly long throws.
  4. be aware of all safety requirements for their event(s), including:

N.B. At higher profile meetings it may be the responsibility of a Technical Manager and/or Clerk of the Course to ensure these are in place.

5. control and conduct each event in a fair and proper manner according to the Rules of Competition.

6. before each individual long throw, visually check the sector and its surrounds, blow the warning horn loudly to alert officials to face the throwing area / prevent athletes entering the throwing area until the warning horn has been acknowledged / acknowledge the warning horn.

7. produce performance card(s) of all trials attempted by each competitor and determine the correct result for events(s). All cards must be submitted, to the appropriate Referee for verifying.

8. ensure the return of all implements and equipment to the appropriate store at the conclusion of the event(s).

9. concentrate at all times, be aware of what is happening on the track and liaise with track officials and starters as necessary.

10. leave the infield when the event is finished, unless moving directly to officiate at another event, taking care not to cross the line-of-sight of timekeepers and photo finish.




F1. Timekeepers should report to the Meeting Secretary and the Chief Timekeeper at least 30 minutes before the first Track event.

The Chief Timekeeper should report to the Meeting Manager/Secretary before the Meeting, to ensure that all necessary paperwork has been completed.

F2. Individual Timekeepers should not be required to take more than one time in sprint races. Good practice requires that Timekeepers should not take times other than those requested by the Chief.

F3. In distance races on the track with large fields, timers with multiple-memory functions or print-out facilities (but not programmable computers) should be used where possible, to ensure that all runners are timed to 1/10th sec. Otherwise or in addition a Running Watch should be used.

A lap chart is advisable if lapping takes place.

F4. For deciding fastest losers, hand times to 1/100th must not be used.

F5. Calling of intermediate times. Provided that there are sufficient timekeepers available, intermediate times in races of more than one lap should be called at the Start Line and at the Bell. In the case of the Steeplechase, because of the varying distance of the lap on different tracks, calling should take place at the Finish Line. Variations may be made at the Chief Timekeeper’s discretion, but normally calling will not take place at intervals of less than one lap except for the Bell time. In Mile races, intermediate times should be called at the ¼ miles. On indoor tracks of 200m times should be called every 400m, plus Bell time, unless otherwise required. (N.B. Lap times should be recorded every 200m, in accordance with UKA Rule 119(5) and IAAF rule 165(40.

Timekeepers going out on duty should be aware of safety and courtesy to athletes, officials and spectators.

F6. To enable Timekeepers to comply with UKA Rule 119(5) and IAAF Rule 165(4), a clearly visible marker should be placed on or near the inner edge of the track to indicate the distances of 1K and 2K in the 3000m Steeplechase. Similar marks should e placed at any other distance required e.g. 1500m in 1Mile, 3k in 2Miles, etc.

F7. The Chief Timekeeper is responsible for any intermediate times given over the Public Address System. The Chief can provide this service:

timekeepers for giving intermediate times, provided that the Chief is satisfied that such times are sufficiently accurate.

If none of these is possible, then no intermediate times should be given.

F8. Relays. Split times for Relay events should not be taken if the individual legs are less than one complete lap. The split times shall be taken as the baton crosses the centre of the take-over box.

In the case of the 4 x 400m, competitors may be required to run in lanes for three bends; the first take-over is therefore staggered and in each lane the centre of the take-over box should be marked on the track by a white line with a green mark super-imposed; Timekeepers recording times for teams in lanes 2-8 therefore should take up positions on the outside of the track opposite these marks for the first take-over. For lane 1 and for all subsequent take-overs the centre of the box is the Finish Line and times should be taken from the stand.

It is recommended that Timekeepers allocated to each team for split times should revert to their normal finishing position at the finish.

F9. Where Photo finish is in operation, the Chief Timekeeper should ensure that the hand times are communicated to the Chief Photo finish as soon as possible after the completion of a race.