The Second Referee

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The Second Referee

It is actually quite difficult to figure out from the rule book what the second referee’s job is, hopefully this condensation will help. This guide has been cobbled from the rule-book.

If you feel any of this is wrong, please email me.

Responsibilities of the second referee

  • at the start of each set and change of courts in the deciding set, checks positions of players on court against rotation sheets.
  • During the match, the second referee decides, whistles and signals:
    • Predominantly second referee’s job (although first referee can blow for anything):
      • penetration into the opponent’s court, and space under the net.
      • positional faults of the receiving team.
      • faulty contact of the player with the net at its lower part or with the antenna on his/her side of the court.
      • the ball that crosses the net totally of partly outside the crossing space to the opponent court, or contacts the antenna on his/her side of the court.
      • the contact of the ball with the floor when the first referee is not in position to see the contact.
      • the contact of the ball with an outside object. (not mentioned in first referee’s specification!)
      • when the ball is out of play, may blow the whistle to indicate they authorise or reject a team request.
    • Shared with the first referee
      • the completed block by back row players or the attempted block by the Libero.
      • the attack hit fault by back row players of by the Libero.
      • ?the completed attack hit made by a player on a ball above the net height coming from an overhand pass with fingers by the Libero in his/her front zone.
      • with the first referee, signals the end of the rally.
  • May, without whistling, signal faults outside his/her jurisdiction, but may not insist on them to the first referee. Includes:
    • faults in playing the ball
    • faults above the nets and at its upper part
  • controls the work of the scorer.
  • supervises the team members on the team bench and reports their misconduct to the first referee.
  • authorises interruptions, controls their duration and rejects improper requests.
  • controls number of time-outs and substitutions used by each team and reports the 2nd time-out and 5th & 6th substitutions to the first referee (and the coach concerned).
  • authorises an exceptional substitution or grants a 3 minute recovery time.
  • checks the floor condition, mainly in the front zone. (possibly belongs in next section)
  • In the rules, but almost irrelevant in the EDVA:
    • checks during the match that the balls still fulfill the regulations. (we only use one ball)
    • supervises players in the penalty areas and reportss their misconduct to the first referee. (penalty area? possible though)
    • controls players in the warm-up areas. (warm up areas?)
    • at the end of the match, he/she signs the scoresheet. (no space on scoresheet at present)


A directive from the Referee Commission has updated the rules – previous rules have been striked through.

If a fault is whistled by the first referee, the second referee will follow the first referee’s hand signals by repeating them.

If a fault is whistled by the second referee, he/she will indicate:

  • the nature of the fault.
  • the player at fault (if necessary).
  • following the hand signal of the first referee, the team to serve.
  • (The first referee does not show the nature of the fault or the player at fault, but only the team to serve)

(Second referee is never first to show who has service)