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Question Number: 29587

Other 8/7/2015

RE: Other

Jose of San Ramon, CA usa asks...

Maybe this is an inappropriate question to ask here, so feel free to ignore it if so, but what do you think the reason is for there being so few female soccer referees?

I referee in the Bay Area of California where soccer is basically THE sport that kids play. From U8-U19 there are tons and tons of players, I would say almost equal numbers of girls and boys play.

However, as a youth referee I notice that very few girls even bother to take up refereeing, and those who do almost always quit after only a few years of doing it. I can count on one hand the number of adult (over the age of 21 or so) female referees I know or have seen in my time.

Do you guys know if there is a reason behind this? I always assumed that maybe it was because women are generally more sensitive so therefore do not tolerate the abuse referees receive well or something like that

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jose,
to be blunt and to forewarn those concerned with political correctness

Nothing is more lethal to young referees, discouragement and abandonment from the game than the dissent and abuse originating from the Touch Lines. I have considered the weeding out process of officials to be in part the ability to deal with abuse, yet it remains the single most destructive element of woman referees, creating emotional carnage where abuse and dissent is not properly addressed or easily endured . Many feel the discomfort is not worth the effort or rewards! That destructive attribute though applies EQUALLY to the men as well! Where you are located, plays HUGE in the training opportunities and the type of matches you will be exposed to,. BUT, most importantly the SUPPORT you will receive from others TRULY interested in helping YOU achieve YOUR goals.!! .

On a personal note! IF there are woman referees out there with a real grasp, PLEASE, write in and lay out your thoughts or concerns. It seems ludicrous that I as a male, try to present the woman point of view even if I claim to be sympathetic or non biased.

I admittedly was less then enthused at the abilities of MANY the officiating crews at the recent 2015 Woman's World Cup. Not withstanding their levels of fitness and effort.. I do not believe that gender should play a role but ability, then there is the political reality of inclusion at a world event and at what level of play, can these woman effectively practise at?

The initial patriotism for a national team at a WORLD EVENT rarely bodes well for national leagues given how quickly the past two iterations of North American pro women's soccer leagues folded. So where do these woman referees go to hone their craft? There are reasons for the men officials to perform better if we look at the calibre of soccer available at the elite level for men. It simply does not yet exist for woman or rather only in select areas of the world!

There is a perception that if women players are not as good, not as skilled not as exciting or as fast paced as men's soccer the same failings must be inherent in the officiating aspect. Thus woman are perceived as not as well trained or competent or knowledgeable about the game itself never mind the LOTG.

Blatter's manipulation of the working member nations by using the residual bigotry and pitting the loathing of the smaller nations as individual voting members in controlling a world wide cash network is the single most disgusting example of self perpetuation of self gratification and entitlement while mouthing the political correct platitudes of fair play, racism and equal rights !Trying to reform the mentality of FIFA be it human rights violations or corruption and gender discrimination remains a daunting task unless they fix the ego mania and dismantle the entitlement structure so many siphon off the top .

To be succinct, while I believe the FIFA organization to be riddled with corruption, there are good people with the right intentions within the organization! Just too much control is exerted and if one DARES to make waves or comment publically or act indiscriminately they are broken and swept away as, "sorry your services are no longer required", if you do not do as we say!
One must change the prevailing attitudes, it is still a mentality of considering girls soccer as exciting as watching paint drying, that must be overcome. Women's soccer in general is still considered as a fun extra curricular activity rather than a true sport of interest where the old boys club run, no make that CONTROL, Soccer Associations .

It is interesting to consider how many programs one can endorse and formulate the self righteous picture of one publically displaying ethical standards! Promoting the ideology of fair play, end racism, support the woman's game on the surface without the substance of integrity . But then, as in any powerful organization with rampant ego and the enjoyment of being in charge, those with control do NOT give it up easily!

You have an insensitive dolt like Sepp Blatter suggesting woman should play in sexier shorts to make their game more interesting. SERIOUSLY, as the PRESIDENT of the most powerful lobby for football in the world??? Look at the gender discrimination lawsuit those within the woman's game tried to induce changes and how they were contemptuously swept aside.

One just has to look at tennis and golf to see how far woman have advanced in the sport arena. Yes there is still obvious room to improve and to achieve parity but woman's soccer, thus woman official or refereeing opportunities lags way behind. Historical perspective teaches us a woman has to simply work harder and want it more to advance beyond the grassroots level, but then again, that is not exclusive to woman is it!

There is a reason those watching the MENs World Cup a are nearly ten times the viewing audience of those watching the Women's world cup.
No matter what is said, the actions of those committed to endorsing a national program and whether women have an equal playing field is how many people will to watch!


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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The better question, IMO, is 'when' will we see more female referees at the highest levels of mens soccer. I believe the answer is soon.

More women have played and are playing soccer. Our training sessions for new referees include large numbers of girls and women. Our elite tournaments include women would have been invited because of their excellence, not their gender. They referee both men and women's games, with equal skill and quality to their male counterparts. When you turn on the television in the US to watch an MLS game, they can see Felicia Mariscal, a FIFA AR on the touchline. The trailblazers (like Sandy Hunt and Keri Seitz before them) show others it can be done.

In the biggest leagues in the World there are women whose skills and talents put them among those being considered for the top division in their county. I'm convinced that they will break through the barriers of fear, ignorance and discrimination. The next step, IMO, should come from FIFA. That FIFA still bans women from refereeing the men's world cup is a prime example of fear, of ignorance, and of discrimination.

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