Refereeing in Canada

Table Dimensions
Master Referees


(REVISED November 5, 2016)
Weigh-ins Draw sheets Competitions Warnings Fouls Loss Hand Signals
Arm Wrestling Table Dimensions

A) All weigh-ins will be done on an approved scale that has been certified accurate by the Canadian Weights and Measures or approved agent.

B) All weigh-ins will be done in the nude if an athlete wishes to make their weight class. (underwear permitted)

C) Weigh-ins cannot commence until 6pm of the Friday preceding Nationals.

D) Weight classes will be as follows:

Canadian Championships:

   Men's Right and Left: 63kg, 70kg, 77kg, 86kg, 95kg, 105kg, 105+kg.

   Ladies Right and Left: 60kg, 70kg, 80kg, 80+kg.

   Men's Right and Left: 70kg, 80kg, 90kg, 100kg, 100+kg

   Ladies' Right and Left: 70kg, 80kg, 80+kg

   Grand Masters(50yrs+)
   Men's Right and Left:  65kg, 90kg, 90+kg

E) All competitors will be weighed in by a person of the same sex if they so desire.

F) At the Canadian Championships, contestant may compete in their own class or jump up one class. Contestant may compete in both right and left hand classes.

G) Without prejudice or discrimination contestant with an artificial limb have the option of weighing in with or without the limb. However if the person chooses to weigh-in without the limb then they must also compete without the limb. Any person who weighs in without the artificial limb and then competes with the limb on will be disqualified as follows:

    1) Comes to the table and places their elbow on the elbow pad with the limb on - 1 foul

    2) Competes with the limb on - 1 loss

    3) If he/she competes in more than one match with the artificial limb on, they will be dropped immediately form the tournament and placed in last place. If it is determined at the conclusion of the tournament that the person competed two or more times with the artificial limb they must forfeit their prize and be placed at the bottom of the standings. All persons below them in the standings will move up one position. Failure the forfeit all prizes will result in that person being banned from all future tournaments until such prizes have been returned.

H) Any person weighing in with a cast must have a note from a certified medical doctor attesting to the weight of such cast. The note must include the date the cast was installed, the hospital or institution and phone number where the cast was installed, the doctor's name printed neatly and his/her signature. Failure to supply such note will result in the weight of the cast included in the total body weight of the contestant.

I) Without prejudice or discrimination Pregnant women will not be allowed to compete in C.A.W.F. competitions. They will not however, be forced to forfeit any prizes if it is discovered that they competed while pregnant. This section should be written on all registration forms.

J) Referees will not be allowed to compete at Circuit, Provincial and National Championships. Substitutes may only be used in case of injury or sickness of designated referee. Substitutes are forbidden to officiate their own class.

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A) Senior classes will be triple elimination. (2013)All other classes will be double elimination.

B) Draw sheets will be done according to the "A" side (winners), "B" / "C"side (losers) method.

   1) Competitors are aligned by "luck of the draw", in the first round only. There will be no seeding of competitors.

   2) Winners stay on the "A" side while losers drop to the bottom of the "B" side and then "C" side

   3) All classes will be run down to the quarter-finals before starting another class. If two or more tables are to be used for the competition each class must be kept on one table and cannot be split up. Once quarter- finals have been reached all classes will be run through once starting with the "B" side, then proceeding to the "A" side, then move up to the next class until all classes are done. At the semi-finals all classes will then be run trough completely again on the "B" side only. The loser taking third place. At the finals all classes will then be run through again in the same succession. If the person on the "A" loses, then a re-match will be run immediately following the competition of the last match of the finals. If more than one rematch is required then all re-matches will be run in the same order as the classes were run during the tournament.

C) Competitors are allowed only one "bye" per class. Anyone receiving a "bye" will be moved from the bottom of the list to the top of the list of the particular side they are on.

D) Competitors cannot pull one another more than once until they are in the quarter finals. The quarter finals are when there are four people left in the class.

E) If two competitors who are in the same weight class for the same arm and on the same side whether "A" side or "B" side and are mistakenly matched and a winner is determined the match will stand.

   1) The two armwrestlers who were to compete against the above two will then be matched against one another.

   2) If a situation occurs whereby the competitors in E1 have already competed against one another then they will be matched against other armwrestlers on the same side. This will be done by taking the first competitor and matching them against the third and the second will be matched against the fourth.

   3) If there are only 3 competitors left and the arm wrestler with the "bye" competes out of turn and a winner is determined, the match will stand - win or lose.

F) If a situation appears whereby there are three people left on the "B" side with two or more of them having byes and also two of them having competed against each other previously then the match up will be determined by the flip to see who will "pull" the third person. Otherwise the byes will be given as they fall.

G) When a competitor breaks their arm during the match and the match is stopped before a winner is determined then that person will be declared the loser of the match.

   1) Any person who breaks their arm on the "A" side can only be dropped to the "B" side. They will then be dropped from the class in the order they would have been called, should they have been able to compete and lost the following match.

H) It is the responsibility of each competitor to make sure that they are accounted for in each and every match.

I) A winner of each match must be determined. Both competitors cannot be fouled-out (loss). However both competitors can be disqualified for being abusive to the officials or for unsportsmanlike conduct. Any person being expelled from the tournament for these reasons will be dropped to the bottom of the standings. No matter where they would otherwise finish.

J) Team points will be tabulated as follows:

  1st - 5 points, 2nd - 4 points, 3rd - 3 points, 4th - 2 points, 5th - 1 point.

Points will accumulate in all classes men's right and left and women's right and left.

K) The first name called (which will be the name closest to the top of the draw sheet) will get their preference as to which side of the table they wish to compete from.

EXCEPTION: In case of learning or speech impaired competitor, they may choose the side in which they will see the referee giving the "SIGNAL"

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A) Contestants have one minute to get to the table or have the draw sheet table informed that they will be delayed. Failure to do so will result in the contestant being declared the loser of that match. The draw sheet table and the head referee will decide if the excuse is valid. An invalid excuse will result in the contestant losing the match.

B) Arm wrestlers will report to the table ready to compete.

   1) They must have arms bared from the end of their fingers to 4 inches above the elbow.
   2) Watches, rings, and support bandages are not permitted on the competing arm.
   3) Shirt with large collars must be turned inward.
   4) Head wear without a brim/bill, such as religious headwear,due rags and toques may be worn at the table. No offensive language or symbols is permitted. Any long garmet must be tied back, as not to interfere with the match. Long hair must be tied back.
   5) Finger nails must be shortened to referee's satisfaction.
   6) Shoes or bare feet are permitted.
   7) Chalk, rosin and stickum are permitted. Vaseline or any like substance that will cause slippage are not permitted.

C) Once a match starts it cannot be stopped unless there is a win, a foul, slip-out, a mistake in the draw match up, or table breakage.

D) There will be no time limit on matches.

E) Once a referee has been set at a table they cannot be replaced. Interpreters will be used only when called for.

F) The referee's decision is final and cannot be overruled by anyone.

G) The referee is not there to arm wrestle, he/she will lightly touch competitor's hand to align them.

H) Before the grip is taken competitors will:

   1) (in sit-down) Seat themselves with feet under table in a manner as not to interfere with their opponent. If a disagreement occurs between the two competitors then the officials will make the competitors place their feet with their right feet to the farthest right for right hand matches and left feet farthest left for left hand matches. The other feet will be staggered. There is no foot rule in stand-up. However, competitors have preference on their side of the table.

   2) Grab the peg at the side.

   3) Place their elbow on the pad.

I) The grip will be a grip if thumb knuckles are showing on both hands. Grip can be either under or over the thumbnail. Competitors can squeeze as tightly as they wish as long as the other competitor can close his/her hand. Finger tips must be placed flatly on the back of their opponent's hand. You cannot dig your nails into the back of your opponent's hand in an attempt to inflict pain or injury.

J) Wrists will be straight, still and in the centre of the table. Back or side pressure can be used as long as the hands do not deviate from centre.

K) Prior to the start of the match shoulders must be square with the table, although they may slant to either side. The referee must be able to pass his fist between each competitor's shoulder and their hands. There must also be a hand's width between the arm wrestler's head and his hand.

L) An audible signal "ready go" will be given to start match. The match will end when the referee says "stop".

M) Unsportsmanlike conduct will not be tolerated and could lead to being expelled from the tournament. Sanctions can vary from a warning to being disqualified from the competition. If a person is disqualified from the competition then they are placed at the bottom of the standings with no ranking. They will have the initials "dq" placed in front of their name.

N) Competitors have 30 seconds to get a grip. Failure to do so will result in a referee's grip. (2013)

O) If both competitors wish to start in the straps, referee's grip or both they may do so.(2013)
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A) Any early movement with shoulders, arm, or hand.

B) If one competitor is causing a delay "locking up".

C) Letting go of the peg. The warning will be issued without stopping the match. If however an advantage is taken the match will be stopped and restarted with a foul. Contact with the peg must be above table. Persons with one hand will be allowed no peg contact.

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The following will result in one foul:

A) Competitors will be given one minute to get a grip satisfactory to the officials. Failure to do so will result in a referee's grip. Any movement during the setting up and prior to the go will result in a foul.

   1) When applying a referee's grip the competitors will place their elbows on the pads in a position of their choice. The referee will then place the hands together with the fingers open. The referee will then ask the competitors whether they wish to have their thumbs over or under their index finger. The spot judge will hold competitors wrists to make sure that no one is bending their wrist. The referee will then wrap the fingers so that the bottom knuckle on the index finger of both competitors are even.

B) Any two warnings.

C) Failure to keep your shoulder on your own side of the table. "Your own side of the table" being defined as an imaginary line across the table from one hand grip to the other. Will result in a foul.

D) There will not be any contact between a competitor's hand and any other part of their body. Such contact will result in a foul.

E) For "causing a slip-out" in one of the following manners:
    1) You lift your fingers off your opponent's hand prior to a slippage.
    2) You close your fingers as to make a fist inside your opponent's hand.
    3) You are in break wrist position and you pull your fingers inside your opponent's hand, therefore you are unable to hold the grip.
    4) Straps will be used when any match ends by way of a slip-out not resulting in a foul. A slip-out occurs when both competitors have lost complete contact with one another. The official must be certain of the circumstances preceding the actual slip-out before delivering a foul. If the official is uncertain as to who caused the slippage or it was caused by the actions of both competitors then straps will be used and no foul will be given.

   When the straps are employed the officials will make competitors place their elbows in the back of the elbow pad and keep their hands open. The other hand must keep hold of the peg at the side. Only the officials can adjust the straps. Competitors may ask the officials to loosen, tighten, or more the strap as to stop it from pinching the hand. The strap however cannot be more than 1 inch below the wrist line.

   If a slip-out occurs, for any reason while competitors are "strapped-up" the competitors will be restrapped with no warnings or fouls being issued.

F) Losing contact with the elbow pad. A competitor is considered to lose contact with the pad when their elbow:
     1) lifts vertically off the pad
    2) armwrestler is riding on their triceps or forearm and the elbow extends beyond any side of the elbow pad.
    3) If at the beginning of, or during the match the elbows of both competitors lift off simultaneously the match will be stopped and restarted. This will be considered coincidental fouls whereby no foul will be given.
    4) Any intentionally flagrant action that causes your opponent to get a foul will result in no foul for the opponent and you receiving the foul instead. Example: Intentionally pushing your opponent off the of the elbow pad.

G) Placing yourself in one of the following dangerous positions:
    1) A competitor is pushing their shoulder ahead of their hand and not looking at their hand. At this point they are no longer using muscles in their arm. Arm wrestlers must always have their shoulders parallel to, or behind their wrist.
    2) A competitor who drops the shoulder of the competing arm so that the humerus bone is in a decline toward the shoulder, and the competing hand is past centre on your losing side of the table. Centre in this instance is half way between the hand pegs.
    3) There is inherent risk with every sport and you must protect yourself at all times. If you feel you cannot, please remove yourself from the tournament.

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The following will result in a loss:

A) Any two fouls.

) Any foul in the losing position. Losing position is defined as having your arm 2/3 of the way down from the start of the match to being pinned. This is an official's judgment call.

A person is pinned (loss of match) when any of their fingers or the wrist drop below the pin pads (touch pads). The pin line on the wrist is that of the lower part of the wrist where it meets the back of the forearm. To be pinned a person does not have to hit the pin pad as long as they go below it.
   1) A person cannot be pinned on their own side of the table. Your "own side of the table" is that part of the table from centre (halfway between the pegs) to your winning pin pads.

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The following are hand signals which are to be used to communicate between referees, competitors, draw sheet table and spectators.

No Call
Wave hands parallel to, and over the table with palms facing down.

Elbow Foul
Place elbow in palm and point your hand to the floor on the side of the offender.

Coincidental Elbow Fouls
Place elbow in palm while holding up 2 fingers.Then signal a no-call.

Slip-Out (straps)
Fists closed overhead with thumbs up.

Slip-Out (1 foul)
Place fingers of one hand inside the other hand then pull out in a slipping motion. Then point to the floor on the offender's side to signify a foul.

Shoulder Foul
Tap shoulder and then point to the floor on the offender's side to signify a foul.

Referee's Grip
Clinch fingers of your right and left hands together over head.

Referee will place himself in break-arm position while pointing at offender. Then point to the floor on the offender's side to signify a foul.

Referee will stretch arm out and above him/her.Then point to the floor on the offender's side to signify a foul.

Centre of Table
To be used by the spot judge to assist the referee in aligning contestants. With fists closed, the thumb will be used to point in the direction that the contestants must move to attain centre. Centre will be determined by the thumb pointing straight up.

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