What is our Severe Weather Policy? - The club has posted the severe weather policy on the main page of the club website as well as on our referee web page. On Saturdays there should be a club representative who will coordinate the closing of fields as necessary. If the field is closed by the club representative, then the referee must follow the decision. If the field has not been closed during a severe weather event, the referee should use good judgement along with the policy information to determine if it is safe to continue to play the game. In most instances, games are suspended for a specified amount of time then resumed for the remaining time, assuming at least half the game can be played in the allotted time. Travel leagues have additional guidance that must be followed.
How many Sportsmanship Rules are there anyway? - There has been some confusion about a few of the league rules. There are two sportsmanship rules (1 for U7-U12 and 1 for U14-U19 games) and they are quite different.
The referees role for the U7-U12 games is to remind the coach of the sportsmanship rule and try to keep the goal differential within 5 goals. This can be done by various means (playing down a player, only allowing one attacker in the attacking half of the field, pass the ball, etc...) but all of these are for the coach to determine when and how to correct the goal differential. You should remind him of the goal differential for each and every goal above 5 goals. Include in your report the coaches effort to keep the games close.
For the U14-U19 games, there is a mandatory requirement for the coach with 5 goals more than the opposing team to reduce by one player for each goal at and above 5 goals (5-0 remove player, score 6-0 remove another player) until that team reaches the minimum required (7). At this point the game will be played 7v11 until the differential is reduced. There is a table provided in the Referee Quick Reference guide to help.
Mercy Rule - Only applies to U14-U19 games (see Referee Quick Reference Guide)
Play Down Rule - Only applies to U14-U19 games (see Referee Quick Reference Guide)
Reduce to Equate - Only applies to U7-U12 game (see Referee Quick Reference Guide). This rule applies when you have a team that doesn't have enough players to meet the maximum #. For example, a U12 team only has 6 players (the minimum allowed) to start the game. The opposing team has 14 players. The game will start 6v6, the opposing team must reduce to equate for the game. As additional players arrive and have had their equipment checked both teams can add players to the field up to the maximum for the game. Another option is for the opposing team to loan players to the other team allowing a 8v8 game to be played. This option is for the coaches of both teams to work out.
Keeper or No Keeper? - The laws of the game require that the minimum number of players must be present to start or continue a game, one of whom is the goalkeeper (for those agegroups that have goalkeepers). In some games the coach wants to remove the goalkeeper from the field when he begins to play down, ensure you remind the coach that one of the remaining players on the field must be identified as the keeper (typically wearing a penny to distinguish the goalkeeper from other players). The player does not have to stay in the goal or penalty area and may play any other position on the field, this also includes the original goalkeeper.
What is a Roster Challenge (SFL Games)? - Before a game or at half time you may have a coach ask to challenge the roster of the opposing team. The challenge is questioning the eligibility of a player or players. This challenge does not make the player(s) in question ineligible, but does require the referee to determine the eligibility of the player(s). If most instances you will find that the coach forgot to make the correction on the SFL Team Roster for the player's number (the coach is allowed to make 3 pen/pencil changes to the roster for player numbers only), no other information is allow to be changed or added to the roster. In some instances you will determine the player to be ineligible to play in the game. Regardless of the outcome, you must include the challenge request in your game report. The procedures for the roster challenge are contained within the Referee Quick Reference Guide and the SFL Referee Guide in more detail.
What time was the game supposed to start? - The time your assigned game starts and when you should arrive at the field is different. You should plan to arrive 30 min before the game scheduled start time. This allows you time to check the fields, check the players equipment and talk to the other referees officiating the game. I have received feedback from referees and coaches that some of us are not getting there on time, arriving just before the scheduled time and rushing through the pre-game. Let's make a concerted effort the rest of this season to arrive on-time not just in time.
What was that Teams #, I know they had a Blue Jersey? - After each weekend of play, I submit a consolidated game and issue report to the club executive board. This report is also shared with the coaches and Age Group Coordinators. In some instances coaches have complained about the scores being reported incorrectly. Apparently some of the teams wore the wrong color jersey (visiting was wearing blue) and this wasn't identified by the referee. Do not go by the jersey color alone. During your equipment check, verify the team’s # by asking the coach. These incidents were caught by attentive coaches when they reviewed our weekly game reports. I have received comments such as "I wasn't running up the score, it was the other team" or "we didn't lose that game, we won". To ensure the most accurate report, ensure you verify which teams are playing.