Definition: Taken from the ITTF Handbook for Match Officials
4.1.1 For every competition as a whole, a referee is appointed, usually with one or more
deputies who can act on his or her behalf. The referee or an authorised deputy must be
present in the playing hall throughout play, to decide any question of rule interpretation,
on which he or she is the sole authority, and generally to ensure that the competition is
conducted in accordance with the relevant laws and regulations.
4.1.2. Where the referee is the sole arbiter, such as in allowing a temporary suspension of play
for injury or disqualifying a player for misbehaviour, he or she must act consistently and
avoid any suspicion of partiality to particular players. In major competitions, it is
recommended that the referee and his or her deputies be from different Associations, so
that there is always a “neutral” official to adjudicate in a dispute.
4.1.3 The referee is responsible for the appointment of match officials. Although he or she will
not normally make such appointments himself or herself, he or she must be satisfied that
the officials are competent and that they act fairly and consistently. He or she should
explain to the umpires, in his or her pre-tournament briefing, how he or she expects laws
and regulations to be applied, especially where any of these are new or might be
4.1.4 The players are under the jurisdiction of the referee from the time at which they arrive at
the playing venue until the time at which they leave it. The practice hall or area is
considered part of the playing venue.