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Question Number: 30628

League Specific 7/23/2016

RE: REC Under 13

David of A Michigan city, Usa asks...

I coach in a somewhat competitive rec league. The league is sanctioned by ussf. And follows most of there rules. Except the league president assigns referees and almost all the time they are not certified and never wear a referee uniform and I don't want to pay for untrained refs. I ask why we don't use certified refs and he says the are to expensive. Is there any way I can get trained refs on my games? And I thought ussf sanctioned games had to have ussf refs?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi David
Throughout the world there is a shortage of referees and many leagues have to resort to using uncertified officials.
USSF policy is that ALL games must be officiated by USSF registered officials, "except in an emergency." To quote the relevancy policy
** Policy 531-8—Assignment of Game Officials
Section 1. Registration Required Prior to Assignment - No one shall officiate in any match under the sanction or jurisdiction (direct or indirect) of the Federation who is not registered with the Federation for the current year, unless that person is a visiting foreign referee who has been properly accredited by his or her national association and approved by the Federation Referee Staff.
Section 2. Unregistered Referee in Emergency - If, because of unforeseen circumstances, a currently registered referee is unable to officiate or does not appear for an assigned match, a person may then be designated at match time to act as referee in the emergency for that one match.
Section 3. Use of Club Linesmen - When neutral assistant referees are not assigned or fail to appear for a match as assigned, the referee may seek the assistance of club linespersons whose duties shall be as delegated to them by the referee. **
Not having enough officials is not "an emergency" and I would believe that a claim that an emergency happens every week in certain age groups in untenable. There is also a requirement that all USSF affiliated games are assigned by a USSF registered assignor.
While I have not read the actual USSF insurance policy, I suspect that the unregistered referees are probably covered based on the emergency rule. The assignor, however, is clearly acting outside of USSF policy. That might be construed by the insurance company as *negligence *so the assignor may not have any professional liability coverage for what happens in those games. I would have thought that if a team wants to pay the normal match fee for a certified referees that the cost is of no concern to the assignor.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi David,
while it is great to have the opportunity to simply play the game, there is no doubt, in my opinion at least, a decent official is a welcome addition to a competitive environment. It helps regulate the conditions those play under and follows the safety and legal guidelines associated with a transparent league or soccer association who follow the bylaws and national directives.
There is some room to evaluate a referee pay structure, or to decide whether an association offers a reasonable form of assessing or training. The proper dispersion of available officials by the assignors' can certainly be complicated by who is available. Judging by your comments and the responses to your inquiries it sounds as if there should be an all hands on deck meeting of the local soccer association to get to the bottom of the difficulties? Fees are negotiable to a certain degree and many an adult league actually demands referee participation by each team as part of the leagues bylaws to be allowed to play.
I can grasp that providing playing opportunities for kids is the main focus but providing even a single trained official to help manage any form of a competitive match is liable to go better than just a dude or gal running about in their sneakers trying to keep a lid on a volatile match.

I am not a legal pundit as to how a legal set of bylaws or league must work. Still it does seem through communication, responsibility & accountability, reasonable people should be able to figure it out. Volunteers are great but as in any position there are dues to be paid and work required to be effective in any job!

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