Scottish referee Owen Allan has been chosen to officiate at the upcoming 2023 Special Olympics World Games, set to take place in Berlin, Germany from June 17th to 25th. This global event will see approximately 170 countries to compete in 24 sports. With the support of over 3,000 coaches and a team of 20,000 volunteers, the Games are expected to be a remarkable celebration of inclusivity and athletic achievement.

Owen Allan is a well-known figure within the Scottish basketball scene, having successfully officiated 234 games during the 2022/23 season across various levels and leagues. His expertise led to his selection as an official for prestigious events such as basketballscotland’s Scottish Cup Finals, the Scottish Schools Cup Final Fours, the Tri-Nations tournament held in Scotland, and the U16 Home Nations tournament in Ireland, where he was one of two Scottish officials invited to officiate.

Having participated in three previous British Special Olympics World Games, Allan decided to apply as an official for the 2023 Games as a means of giving back to the athletes who have inspired him. Witnessing first-hand the hard work, dedication, and infectious excitement exhibited by the Special Olympics athletes, he decided he wanted to contribute to their journey.

Reflecting on his decision, Allan commented:  “Having taken part in three British Special Olympics and seeing what hard work goes into the athletes training and dedication, as well as seeing how excited and happy they are to be part of the whole experience, I feel that it was only right to give back to them.”


Allan’s journey as a referee began nearly 2 decades ago during his college days. While working on a basketball project, he reached out to his local development officer Chris Dodds, who had recently become a FIBA referee himself. This interaction introduced Allan to the world of refereeing and recognising that his passion for basketball exceeded his skills as a player, he saw becoming a referee as an opportunity to stay active, forge new connections, and explore different places around the country. Within that same year, he achieved Level One referee award.

When asked about his enjoyment of refereeing games, Allan passionately shared, “I enjoy refereeing as I am in the thick of the action rather than watching from the side-lines. I enjoy educating players whether it’s young school age children all the way to older ex-professionals who may not know of the new changes to the game. I love travelling about seeing new places, meeting new friends, hearing stories from other players, coaches and referees of their adventures which opens my eyes to other places to visit or to help develop who I am and how I conduct myself towards different people with different levels of passion.


I love how I have met some great players of the game both players and officials who I can call friends and no matter how they are towards me on the court they will always look out and look after me off the court and great lasting memories as I feel that the sport is a real family.”

basketballscotland would like to wish Owen good luck at the Special Olympics World Games and thank him for all his hard work this season.

About the Special Olympics World Games

The Special Olympics World Games offers people with and without disabilities, people of different nations, cultures, political views and religions to me meet and overcome existing prejudices with the power of sport.

Find out more here