Women in Basketball
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FIBA Referee Maternity Plan a big assist to female referees

MIES (Switzerland) - Women play an important role in basketball as game officials and FIBA is committed to developing and leveraging female referees across all levels.

As part of ensuring that women can pursue refereeing careers while also having fulfilling lives off the court, basketball's world governing body has launched the FIBA Referee Maternity Plan for 2023.

Carl Jungebrand, FIBA Head of Refereeing, said:  "Our research has shown a legitimate concern about the potential of FIBA female referees being sidelined from officiating activities during their maternity leave. This clearly sent a signal for us to devise a strategy and plan in order to keep female referees officiating and to eliminate any exclusion based on maternity status." 

In 2020 and 2021, as part of FIBA's strategic priority, Women in Basketball, and, more specifically, the goal to develop and leverage female coaches and officials, a series of surveys and discussions were held. What emerged was the concern from female referees about being put aside from officiating during their pregnancy and maternity leave.

Therefore FIBA has developed a referee maternity plan focusing on assisting female referees in their officiating careers while also providing guidelines on the matter for National Federations, ensuring full inclusion during maternity leave.

Support and the provision of personalized monitoring for FIBA licensed referees with dedicated step-by-step actions that referees can follow is the main asset of the plan.

National Federations are encouraged to support and keep their referees involved in officiating in other ways during their maternity leave period. This could be achieved by including them in the activities such as referee instructors' courses, table officials' courses and mentoring programs.

Female referees on maternity leave can, as a result, be included in the FIBA Game Officials Licensing if they wish to be. This would guarantee their inclusion in the licensing procedure after giving birth and after the maternity leave, provided they meet the other necessary requirements for Game Official candidates.

Already, eight cases that fall under the FIBA Maternity Plan for the FIBA Game Officials Licensing for 2023-25 have been identified.

"Our aim, for both FIBA and National Federations, should be to offer the same access to training, promotion and other activities, according to the physical status of referees," Jungebrand said. "We believe that, with the FIBA Referee Maternity Plan, we will be able to achieve this."