Umpires (referees) are essential for sport competition, yet many sports report difficulty in recruiting and retaining umpires. Therefore, this research sought to better understand what experiences will ensure continued participation in umpiring. Previous literature suggests that the communities created are vital to umpire retention. Thus, the aim of this research was to identify the factors that lead to, or detract from sense of community for umpires. Twenty-two Australian Rules football umpires were interviewed using a semi-structured approach. This study revealed that Lack of Administration Consideration, Inequity (specifically related to remuneration and resources), Competition, Common Interest (specifically in the sport, interactions within football community, and/or within social spaces) impacted the development of sense of community for umpires. This study demonstrates that as umpires move through their careers, the outcome of the noted factors to enhance or detract from sense of community change. Implications for umpire education, accreditation, and management aimed at retaining umpires are discussed.
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