Risk Management and Covid-19

The coronavirus pandemic is still a reality, and we must stay informed and be prepared when coming in contact with players, coaches, spectators and other referees.

General Covid-19 Safety Guidelines for all Referees

The Eastern Pennsylvania State Association Referee Committee (EPSARC) suggests the following guidelines for refereeing outdoor soccer games this year. Always follow the Commonwealth of PA and local health department directives. This is not legal or medical advice. For your own protection and the protection of your family on your return home, understand the healthcare advice and apply it to your personal health and family circumstances.

  1. Referees do not have any additional responsibilities or authority under the COVID-19 related return to play guidelines from USYS, EPYSA, EPSA, or US Soccer. Referees should ask their assigner if a league has a different contract (or any specific Rules of Competition changes the referee should review). At the field, refer questions to coaches or the league.
  2. Stay healthy. Please accept games within your stamina and skill levels. For many reasons, related and unrelated to COVID-19, there are fewer referees this season.
  3. Assigners may have a tougher year. Nonetheless, please turn back the game if you are sick. You will not be penalized.
  4. Take and use hand sanitizer. Take a mask. Wear the mask in crowds before and after the game.
  5. Set your bags, chairs, and drinks at least six feet apart from your crew members, the spectators, and the teams. Do not set up between the teams or near the water.
  6. Do not shake hands or bump fists with players, coaches, spectators, or other referees. This year, smile, nod, wish them a good game, applaud, or wave.
  7. If necessary, remind spectators to stay at least 10 feet behind the touchlines. (This is ultimately the coach’s responsibility.)
  8. If needed, locate and mark the technical areas. The benches should be at least 10 feet behind the touchline. Call the coach’s attention to the marks and explain the special COVID-19 need for the coaches and players to remain more than six feet from the AR.
  9. Remind coaches and players at the beginning of the match to follow the rules of the competition about social distancing in team areas and at goal celebrations.
  10. Check teams in and conduct the coin toss per local league/competition rules. REMEMBER SIX FEET.
  11. Keep explanations simple and short. Evaluate possible injuries, show cards, and explain from MORE THAN SIX FEET.
  12. Seldom do referee evaluations of injuries or other discussions with players, fans, or coaches take more than a few moments. Keep them as short as possible.
  13. Apply the Laws, Rules of the Competition, and common sense with more social distance than in the past.

If you need to turn back a game due to illness (whether or not it is definitely Covid related), you will not be penalized.  Safety is our top priority.
Please follow these guidelines:

  1. Contact your assignor as soon as possible to let him/her know you cannot accept the game.
    • Even if it is game day – communication is imperative – in order to find a replacement.
  2. Seek medical attention if necessary
  3. Follow proper protocol before accepting future games or returning to the field.

If you have been to a field and worked a game (center or assistant referee) and subsequently find out you are Covid positive or were in contact with someone who is Covid positive:

  1. Contact Ian Bongaardt, SRA, ian.bongaardt@gmail.com.  He will follow up with you on what to do next.
  2. Your privacy, health and safety, as well as that of our members, is our #1 priority.