Rather than managing referees ourselves, we work with professional, independent Referee Assignors who have many years of experience working with officials. The Referee Assignors work directly with the referees, TORSO does not. The Referee Assignors are constantly looking for new referees for the league. They verify that referees are up to date on their certifications and that they are qualified to officiate our games. They assign officials to all of our games each week. To make sure that all of the referees are performing as expected, they read referee evaluations, review performance, mentor referees, and if an issue comes up that needs to be addressed, they coach referees as to how to handle that issue better in the future. The assignors juggle referee schedules, preferences, game difficulty, referee scarcity, and many other issues to try to ensure that referees are assigned to games that are on par with their experience and game management skills.
As Referee Liaison, I read all referee evaluations and I listen to the feedback of managers and players in the league regarding officials. I work with the Referee Assignors in more detail when I feel like there is an issue that needs to be addressed. This can include things like unacceptable referee behavior, knowledge of TORSO exceptions, not protecting players enough, turning in correct match reports, enforcing uniform guidelines, etc. I receive status reports from the Assignors during the season that address assignment issues, status of referee testing, issues with specific matches, and any other pertinent information which will help us to get and keep quality referees for TORSO matches.
However, there is a big hole in this process if we don’t get manager and player input on specific referees. When you do a Referee Evaluation, that information goes to the Assignors and to the Ref Liaison. Without this specific information, the assignors may not know that those referees need to improve or be replaced.
Please remember that you may not see an immediate change after doing one evaluation. Referees can have bad days, managers can have bad days. Opinions and viewpoints can vary. The Referee Assignors take this into consideration. That’s why it’s important to consistenly do referee evaluations. One referee evaluation, unless it’s egregious, is going to be informational. Multiple referee evaluations with the same pattern are more likely to be actionable. So it may take some time to change referee behavior. Please be patient with the process.
Even with all of that process, referees are human beings and they make mistakes. This isn’t a career for most of them, it’s a few extra dollars on the weekend. Very few. We pay market rates to our referees, but high quality referees are not always easy to find for a recreational over-30 coed league. If we were playing world-class soccer, we could attract and afford world-class referees. But we’re not, and even world class referees make mistakes, so please know that we are genuinely working towards getting the best possible referees that are available to us. Please do referee evaluations each week to let the assignors know which referees performed well and which ones need improvement. With that information, we can continue to work towards improving the quality of officiating in the league.