Date published:

 1.      The referees shall be three in number, the head referee and two side referees.

2.      The head referee is responsible for giving the necessary signals for all three lifts, for indicating to the speaker and Time Keeper when the bar is ready, for communicating to the speaker the verification of world records, and any special decisions upon performance decided by the referee.

3.      Signals required for the three lifts are as follows:






A visual, signal consisting of a downward movement of the arm together with the audible command “Squat”. A visual signal consisting of abackward movement of the arm together with the audible command “Rack”.


An audible command of “Press” when the bar is motionless on the lifter’s chest. An audible command of “Rack” when the bar has been pressed to straight arms length.


No signal required. A visual signal consisting ofa downward movement of the arm together with the audible command “Down”.


4.      Once the bar has been replaced in the racks or on the platform at the completion of the lift, the referees will announce their decisions by means of the lights. White for a ‘good lift’ and red for ‘no lift’.

5.      The three referees may seat themselves in what they consider to be the best viewing positions around the platform and should remain seated during the execution of the lift. The head referee must bear in mind the need to be easily visible to the lifter performing the Squat and Dead lift and be positioned accordingly. To avoid any distractions to the lifter the head referee should remain motionless between signals.

The side referee should not impose upon the spotter’s duties but should make adjustments to their own seating position and may lean sideways or forward during a lift to obtain the best viewing vantage. Side referee’s during the squat must be positioned exactly to the side of the squatter and not to the rear. Spotters for the squat must provide a “window” for the side referee to view the Squat. Obstructions to viewing must be corrected before the lift begins, i.e. side referees may ask spotter/loaders to move slightly to give them a better view.

6. Before the competition, the appointed “WPC Contest Officials”, referee or additionally appointed officials shall have ascertained that::


a.            The platform and competition equipment comply in all respects with the rules. Bars and discs are checked for weight discrepancies and defective equipment discarded.

b.            Scales work correctly and are accurate.

c.            The lifters weigh-in within the limits of the body weight categories, and within the time frame of the posted weigh-in sessions.

d.            Any lifter’s costume or personal equipment, if requested, is inspected and approved or rejected. That speaker-announcer, Time Keeper (if not a referee), marshals/expeditors, scorers, records processor and loaders/spotters understand their duties and the rules that may pertain to them.

7. During the competition the three referees on duty must jointly ascertain that:

a.            The weight of the loaded bar agrees with the weight announced by the Speaker. Referees may be issued loading charts for this purpose.

b.            Lifts are credited as “good lift” or “no lift” and all other aspects of the competition run in accordance with the rules of performance.

c.            On the  platform, the lifter’s costume and personal equipment visually meet acceptable standards and are within the rules.

 8. If during the execution of a lift, a referee observes a fault sufficient to give cause for disqualification of the lift, the procedure is as follows:

a.            The referees may stop the lift for discretionary safety. The head referee shall signal the lifter with a downward motion of the arm and the audible command of “Down” for the Deadlift and shall instruct the spotters to take the bar on the Squat and Bench Press only if safe and appropriate to do so.

9. Prior to the commencement of the Squat or Bench Press, if any of the referees do not accept any aspect of the set up of the lifter, they will call attention to the fault as previously described in 8 (a). If there is a majority opinion among the referees that a fault exists, the head referee will not give the signal to commence the lift and will inform the lifter to “Rack” the bar. A head referee seeing a fault that may not be visible to the side referees, e.g. hands holding the collars or discs on the Squat or a grip in excess of 81cm on the Bench Press, may act alone in informing the lifter to “Rack” the bar. If requested, it is required of the head referee to quickly confirm the nature of the fault and to explain this to the lifter or coach. The lifter has the remainder of any unexpired time allowance to repeat the attempt with the fault corrected, and receive the commencement signal. Note: for the above reasons it is important that the Time Keeper stop timing attempts on the Squat and Bench Press only when the lifter has received the commencement signal.

Aspects of the set up for the Squat regarded as faults are as follows:

a.            Holding the collars or discs.

b.            Failure to assume an upright position.

c.            Failure to have knees locked.

d.            Top of the bar more than 3cm below the top of the anterior deltoids.


The aspects of the set up for the Bench Press that should be regarded as faults are as follows:

a.            Hand spacing exceeding 81cm.

b.            Not receiving the bar handout at arm’s length.


Aspects of the set up for the Bench Press that, if maintained beyond the referee’s signal, will be regarded as faults are as follows:

a.            The lifter’s shoes are not in contact with the platform or the surface of any discs/blocks that may have been requested.

b.            Contact of the lifter’s shoes with the bench or its supports.

c.            Buttocks not in contact with the flat surface of the bench.


Any of these potential faults should be drawn to the attention of the lifter by any of the referees observing them.


10.          Prior to the commencement of a lift, if either of the side referees observe an obvious infraction of the rules regarding costume or personal equipment they will call attention to the fault to the head referee. The head referee observing an infraction may act alone. In either cases the referees will be called together to inspect the lifter.

If the fault is considered a purposeful intention to cheat, the lifter will be disqualified from the competition. If the fault is considered an oversight or genuine mistake, the lifter shall correct the fault before being permitted to proceed with the attempt. The lifter’s time allowance will not be stopped to effectuate the correction. The way the fault is considered and the action taken will be at the discretion of the referees on duty.


Faults that should be considered as a purposeful intention to cheat are:

a.            The use of more than one lifting suit or an illegal lifting suit.

b.            The use of more than one supportive undershirt or illegal undershirt.

c.            The use of more than one pair of wraps, or wraps substantially over regulation length.

d.            Any additions in excess of the prescribed costume and personal equipment   rules, e.g. body wraps, towel inserts, bracings etc.

e.            Presence of oil, grease, liquids or lubricants other than powder on the thighs for the Dead lift.

f.             Other infractions of similar gravity.


Faults that should be considered as oversights or genuine mistakes are:

a.            Socks overlaid by, or touching, knee wraps.

b.            Wraps applied as to obviously exceed the width dimensions allowed for the wrist (12cm) or knee (30cm).

c.     Wraps slightly in excess of the prescribed regulation.

d.     Items forgotten to be removed that may have been worn for warm-ups or to maintain warmth, e.g. hats, rubber elbow bands, etc.,

e.     Other infractions of similar consequence.

11.    If any of the referees suspect without certainty any infraction of the rules regarding costume and personal equipment they will not act until after the lift has been performed. The lifter should then be inspected. For a fault deemed an oversight or genuine mistake the lifter’s attention should be drawn to the fact and warned about repeating the infraction in any subsequent attempts. The attempt may be disqualified at the referee’s discretion. Should the same infraction be repeated after a warning, the attempt shall be disqualified or infractions deemed as a purposeful intention to cheat, the lifter shall be disqualified from the competition.


12.     Referees shall, if requested, explain to a lifter or coach the reason or reasons why a lift was judged “no lift”. All that is required of such an explanation is an accurate statement, debates will not be entered into, and an explanation will not cause distraction of the referee from the attempt of the next lifter. Referees shall abstain from any other commentary and not receive any document or verbal account concerning the progress of the competition.

13.     A referee shall not attempt to influence the decision of other referees. Once any lift has begun, each referee will withhold his/her individual judgment until the completion of the lift, indicating such with a red or white light. Under no condition should a referee raise his/her hand after the lift has commenced unless to insure the safety of the lifter.

14.     The head referee may consult with the side referees, the appointed “WPC Contest Officials” or other officials as necessary in order to expedite or facilitate the running of the competition.

15.     After the competition, the three referees shall sign the official score sheets, record applications, and any other documents requiring their signatures.

16.     At World and International Championships only WPC Referees will adjudicate the lifting. At World Championships the three referees for each session should not be of the same nationality, for international competitions no more than two of the session referees should be of the same nationality. The selection of referees for World Championships and international competitions shall be made by the appointed “WPC  Contest Officials”.

17.     The selection of a referee to act as head or side referee in one session does not preclude the selection of the same referee from being head or side referee in another  session.

18.     All referees in World Championships and International competitions will be uniformly dressed to include the following:


Men:       Winter     Dark Blue Blazer or cardigan with WPC Referee badge on the left breast (pocket) and trousers with a white shirt and tie.

Summer White shirt and trousers, ties optional.


Women: Winter     Dark Blue blazer or cardigan with WPC Referee badge on the left breast (pocket) and skirt or trousers with a white blouse or top.

Summer Dress, skirt or trousers and a white blouse or top.


The appointed “WPC Contest Officials” shall determine whether winter or summer dress will be worn.


19.     WPC referees may have their refereeing status revoked upon consideration of their performance and abilities by the officers of the WPC.