Dear Fellow Referees:
The board is aware that we are ALL in a very difficult position this season with the Covid-19 situation. I know we would all like to have clear answers to many of our concerns, but with so many conflicting directives and many governing bodies just not willing to provide us with concrete directives, we will just have to manage as best we can.
Having said this, here again is the Boards official position.
“We can’t make up our own rules or enforce rules which are outside of the scope of being a soccer referee (those rules and powers given to us). We have to follow the guidelines/rules established by the various entities, including NYS, NYSCOS, BOCES, School Sections and individual school mandates.”
THE ONLY CHOICE YOU HAVE IS NOT TO REFEREE A GAME IF YOU ARE UNCOMFORTABE WITH ANY OF THE REQUIREMENTS/LACK OF REQUIREMENTS.” Again, you can NOT make up our own rules or enforce something for which you have no mandate.
Having said this, we are continuing to run into situations and I will try to provide some guidance to our membership.
1. We can NOT issue yellow cards to players for not wearing masks or not wearing them properly. Our suggestion is to talk to the player, then the coach IF you feel uncomfortable. If you don’t get satisfaction and feel unsafe, tell the coach you are terminating the game because YOUR safety is in jeopardy. If that doesn’t get their attention, stop the game and leave. Again, you should call the schools a couple days in advance to see if you are in agreement with their policy. If not, email Chris Ray and turn your game back to avoid this situation on the field.
2. We can NOT dictate what type of mask players/bench personnel should wear. You can ONLY determine if they are safe with respect to the equipment itself. We are not a mask experts and at this time a “mask” is defined as anything that covers the mouth and nose.
3. Please watch your statements you make to ANYONE at your venue. Many things that you might consider harmless might be offensive, sexist, racist, etc. to someone else. I don’t want to go into too much detail (because you all know what I am talking about) but we did have a complaint about a referee saying in a boy’s game that “it wasn’t a foul, what do you think, this is a girls game?” This was overheard by a parent and you can imagine the emails/complaints we received. Be professional, keep your opinions to yourself!!!
The following two statements are from NYSCOS, received today:
HYDRATION BREAKS ... The referee must blow the whistle and stop the game for a hydration break, but; if both coaches and the referee do not need to adjust masks and all three parties agree the game may be restarted. All three must be in agreement. This procedure was put into place as a result of the requirement to wear face coverings, allowing time to readjust the masks. Hydration is not the primary concern.
EXPOSURE to COVID19 ... Should any referee suspect that they have been exposed to an individual (coaching staff/player/staff assistants/etc.) that tests positive to COVID19, it has been advised that any referee with this concern contact their county DOH (Department of Health) for specifics as to the direction they should pursue.
Collectively as your board we are working hard to get more clarification and push the various organization to come up with a comprehensive strategy. We are not sitting idle. We will continue to keep you informed as more information becomes available.
Use your best judgments and stay safe…