From: PAASL BOD
To: All PAASL Players
PAASL continues its modernization of our league and in the interests of transparent operation, the Board is publishing this newsletter to update our players on the progress of these changes. We’ve received both positive and negative feedback on some of the changes we have implemented and will be looking to address a variety of issues in this newsletter. PAASL deeply thanks everyone for their participation and continued support. We encourage all players to continue filling out the Referee Feedback Form and end of session Player Satisfaction Surveys to have your voices heard by the Board.
The following is a summary of content, with lengthier explanations to follow below:
- Feedback on new USSF referees has been mostly positive with some areas of feedback in which we believe the referees can improve.
- Best method to influence referee performance and selection is the Referee Feedback Form.
- PAASL has streamlined check-in as much as possible to prevent unpaid players.
- Please arrive for games EARLY!
- Law 3: Substitutions - Referees will not be involved in substitutions.
- Law 5: Referees decisions are final - We expect players to respect the decision of the referees, avoid delays in the game, and continue play. The Referee Feedback Form is available to provide both praise and constructive criticism of the referees after the game.
- Law 11: Offside - Players must touch the ball or be judged to have gained an advantage to be offside.
- Law 12: Language - Offensive, insulting, or abusive language, as judged by the referee, can be a red card offense. This may include language directed at oneself.
- New local rules have been adopted by the Board regarding jewelry and headwear. Please see the PAASL Rules website. These are effective and will be enforced as of Sunday, April 15, 2018.
- These new rules are subject to the referee determining if the items being worn are safe. PAASL will back all referee decisions in these cases.
- USSF affiliation provides us with access to the USSF certified referee base/pool that we are currently employing, which is significantly larger than our previous referee pool.
- After a great deal of research, the Board has determined that CSAN is the choice to be our USSF affiliate partner.
- Players are responsible for maintaining a valid CSAN membership to play in PAASL by renewing their CSAN membership annually.
- PAASL will try to absorb any additional costs for its players.
As of January 1, 2018, PAASL is now employing USSF certified referees from a pool roughly twelve times the size of our previous group. In talking with many members of our playing community, we’ve heard both positive and constructive feedback with regards to the new referee pool. Much of the positive feedback includes:
- They move beyond the center circle.
- The AR runs the sideline to stay with the last man.
- They seem to know offsides.
- The refs don’t force substitutions.
- Accuracy is better, likely due to better positioning.
However, we’ve also received constructive feedback:
- The referees threaten us with yellow cards.
- Why am I not allowed to wear my hat or Fitbit?
- We don’t need these refs. The old ones were fine.
With the new referee pool has come changes for our PAASL player community. The new referees are more accustomed to conduct and procedures more closely aligned with IFAB Laws of the Game (check-in, jewelry, offsides, etc.). The greatest method to guide and influence our referee community is the Referee Feedback Form, available on our website. All submissions are closely monitored and tracked for data trends. We strongly request all players to regularly submit referee feedback, both positive and negative. To better facilitate this, we have begun automatically emailing several randomized players from each game with the Referee Feedback Form link.
The new pre-game check-in continues to be a challenge across PAASL. After a long period of increasingly casual check-in from our previous referee pool, we recognize that players enjoyed and became accustomed to the benefits of showing up right at kick-off to play. However, the Board was beginning to encounter cases of players playing without registering, which reduces playing time for our registered players and puts the League in a difficult insurance situation. Pre-game check-in, as currently outlined by PAASL, is intended to ensure that only validly registered players who have paid their playing fees are permitted to play in games for their particular session.
Although the check-in process is more burdensome than the casual check-in we previously had, PAASL’s check-in process has been designed to be smooth, fast, and both referee and player friendly. Many of the more robust check-in procedures mandated by other local adult and youth groups have not been adopted to maximize efficiency for our players. The best suggestion for all players is to arrive earlier. As reported by various team coordinators, players who arrive even 10 minutes before their scheduled kick-off have more than enough time to get dressed and check-in for a prompt game start.
The check-in process fundamentally relies on Team Coordinators arriving for games with printed rosters in hand or making sure a backup player is available to carry out coordinator duties. PAASL encourages ALL players to print out your team roster card, which is available through the PAASL website, and carry it as a backup. As a community, we can all come together to assist the volunteer team coordinators. Finally, at designated locations at each of our playing fields, blank roster cards will be stored for handwritten rosters if necessary.
PAASL follows IFAB/FIFA Laws of the Game. PAASL would like to remind our players of the following rules to reduce player dissent and encourage more play:
Law 3: Substitutions - Players may substitute at any stoppage in play, subject to the referee’s permission.
- Referees will not initiate or mandate substitutions during play. They are only responsible for the orderly process of substitutions.
- Please know who you will be substituting when you call to the referee for a substitution. If you are currently on the field, remember this is a recreational league in which all players have paid to play. If you are willing to substitute off, it is very likely your teammates will substitute you back on.
- All referees know they should call for a goalkeeper substitution (if the team does not have a full-time goalkeeper) at around the quarter mark. In general, it is best practice if each team organizes the goalkeeper substitutions before the game and alerts the referee. This saves a lot of valuable playing time, instead of waiting for substitutions.
Law 5: All decisions of the referee are final and must be respected.
- As stated above, we expect players to respect the decisions of the referees, avoid delays in the game and continue playing. The Referee Feedback form is available to provide praise constructive criticism of the referees after the game.
- PAASL heavily frowns on dissent and is actively seeking to eliminate it from our league.
Law 11: Offside
- A player is offside when the ball is played or touched by a team-mate ONLY if interfering with play by playing or touching the ball, interfering with an opponent, or gaining an advantage by playing the ball or interfering with an opponent.
- Players need to touch the ball or be judged to have gained an advantage to be offside.
Law 12: Sending-Off Offences
- A player may be sent off (direct red card) for offensive, insulting, or abusive language and/or gestures.
- As adults, we have the voluntary ability to control our verbal and body language. Please remember that what constitutes offensive language is a subjective determination by those who can hear you. Leading back to Law 5, the referee is the ultimate arbiter of what is considered offensive, insulting, or abusive language. This may include language directed at oneself.
Due to popular demand by both players and referees, the Board has updated a local rule regarding clothing and accessories that can be worn during play. These contradict IFAB Laws of the Game. This has also been posted on the PAASL website.
Equipment Permitted For Wear During Play
A referee may require a player to remove their non-equipment wear should they deem it a danger to the player or other players, even if the non-equipment wear is covered with tape or other clothing. Without exception, PAASL will support all referee decisions in this regard.
- If the referee deems it safe, facial and finger jewelry may be worn if it is completely covered with opaque tape. Necklaces and bracelets, including watches and/or fitness trackers, are not permitted. Medical alert jewelry must be taped down, but the tape may not obscure the medical alert symbol.
- Padded headgear, sweatbands, bandanas, knit caps, and/or beanies may be worn by players.
- Hats with brims or visors, including sun hats, floppy hats or ball caps are not permitted. Goal keepers may wear a hat with a soft visor.
Looking to ensure the long-term viability of our league, PAASL has long wanted to increase the size and quality of our referee pool. The best way to do that was to tap into the large USSF certified referee community in the local area. To access the twelve times larger, USSF certified referee pool, PAASL must affiliate with USSF.
After over six months of extensive, deliberate, and diligent exploration, it has been decided by the Board that California Soccer Association - North (CSAN) is our best USSF affiliate partner. USSF affiliation is required to ensure our games are officiated by the USSF referees we are currently employing. This was raised in our previous BOD newsletter. CSAN will also provide secondary, gap medical insurance for all our players and help streamline our registration and communication processes moving forward. As a result, joining CSAN is in the best long-term interests of PAASL.
Through their online registration partner Affinity, CSAN requires annual registration by each player at a cost of $32. This is in addition to your registration for each PAASL playing session. To help minimize the financial impact on players, PAASL will be reallocating insurance cost funds to absorb the registration fee for our players over the next two years. We are working on developing an Affinity registration reminder system to remind players to renew their expiring CSAN memberships at the appropriate time. PAASL will transition to CSAN membership cards affixed with PAASL session stickers to be used as player passes starting with our Fall sessions. As a result, referees will not allow a player to play without a valid CSAN membership card with affixed PAASL session sticker under our “No Pass, No Play” policy. This dovetails into our check-in policy to prohibit play of unregistered players. Ultimately, the obligation to ensure each player’s CSAN membership is valid at the time of play will rest with the player individually.
The Board understands and apologizes for placing an additional registration step on our players. However, it is the Board’s belief that this is a large positive step towards modernizing PAASL, having access to the large pool of USSF certified referees on the Peninsula, and ensuring the long-term success of PAASL. We ask for your understanding and support as PAASL continues its path forward.
PAASL Board of Directors