Table Officials

While there are multiple roles at international level, the two main roles for a water polo table official in England are match secretary and timekeeper.

No game should go ahead without a minimum of two table officials as one person can’t control three stopwatches and write at the same time!

Timekeepers record periods of play, timeouts, intervals between periods, possession time and exclusion time. The timekeepers ensure that the game progresses correctly, and they must be able to concentrate fully throughout the game.

Meanwhile, a water polo match secretary keeps track of the players, score, timeouts and all the decisions made during a game. The match secretary’s record of the game is the only official record, and is signed by both referees. As such, care and concentration is needed for the entire game.

Click for the role of a water polo match secretary in the FINA rules.
Click for the role of a water polo timekeeper in the FINA rules.

3 Grades of Water Polo Table Official

There are three levels of qualification for table officials, and for each level a candidate must be able to carry out the role of timekeeper, possession timekeeper and match secretary.

The three grades of water polo table official are:

  • CTO (Club Table Official) – the lowest grade of qualification, and aimed at beginners or those who merely wish to help out at a club level. It provides a ‘proof’ that an official knows what to do for each role properly.
  • RTO (Regional Table Official) – the official has a more detailed knowledge of the rules of the sport, and the roles and responsibility of a table official. At this level, all domestic competitions are available to be officiated at.
  • NTO (National Table Official) – the official has experience under pressure of intense games and at games of a high standard, including international events.

Water Polo Table Official Training


A free table officials resource aims to recruit new water polo volunteers. There is no presenter so the resource can be completed at the pace of the participant and as many times as required. Contact Fred Fowler or Mike Coles to register your interest.

Click here for a more in-depth look at the current pre-requisites for examination for each of the officials grades.

Water polo table official courses take place across the country each year.

Take a more in-depth look at the development pathway for officials.

View dedicated Swim England Courses Calendar to search for an upcoming water polo table official course near you.


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