Referees constitute an integral component of every PAASL game. PAASL believes in and supports our referee community. However, PAASL recognizes the need to continually monitor the professionalism and performance of our referees for the benefit of our players. Through the Referee Feedback Form, PAASL is asking our players to help in that monitoring effort. Please keep your positive and constructive feedback coming. We truly appreciate it!
The Referee Feedback Form is designed to record and provide referee professionalism and performance trends over time. As trends emerge, our referee assignor can adjust referee assignments or performance to maintain a high quality PAASL playing experience. Please be aware that these Feedback Forms go directly to our referee assignor, with general trends and statistics reported back to PAASL's Board of Directors only. In order to maintain independence, PAASL will not unilaterally contact any specific referee regarding their performance or adjust any referee rating without our assignors consent and direct approval.
To dispel any perception that the Referee Feedback Forms are unmonitored, PAASL has crafted some responses to common criticisms in past submitted forms. The intent of our responses is to help players understand what is and is not actionable criticism for PAASL.
1. Comment: The referee is not keeping up with the play, is in the way, or is standing in the center circle.
Response: Fitness is a critical component of proper referee performance. Referee certification training involves instruction regarding the correct location on the field for any given play. Because PAASL uses licensed referees who have all undergone this training, PAASL assumes the referee is in a good location, or has made an effort to get in a good position, to make calls unless there is clear and convincing evidence to the contrary. Continued submission of referee feedback forms will allow our referee assignor to identify trends for specific referees, which may then mandate further corrective action.
2. Comment: There were too many ticky tacky fouls being called interrupting the flow of the game. There were NOT enough fouls called resulting in an overly physical game. I was elbowed or run over and no foul was called.
Response: When it comes to whether a foul is called or not, there is a spectrum of subjective determination specific to each referee and specific to the pace and tone of each match to decide whether there was or was not a foul, and also whether to let play continue due to advantage or not. Please keep in mind that vantage point, timing, crowd, speed of players, and weather, amongst other factors, can all contribute to players and referees having differing opinions of whether a sequence of events is or is not a foul. When it comes to fouls, please keep in mind the following two statements within the Official FIFA Laws of the Game: 1) "The decisions of the referee regarding facts connect with play,… are final. The decisions of the referee, and all other match officials, must always be respected." and 2) "Everyone must respect the match officials and their decisions, remembering and respecting that referees are human and will make mistakes".
PAASL is a recreational league. All of our players are interested in making it home from the game safely and going to work the next day. In an effort to prioritize player safety, PAASL has instructed its referees to whistle for fouls when in doubt, and issue yellow cards when in doubt. This is to keep dissent to a minimum, keep tighter control of the game, and ultimately keep players safe. The decision of whether something was or was not a foul is NOT the decision of the player.
Please keep in mind that of all the Referee Feedback Forms submitted to date (170 and counting), 8 have indicated the referee did not call enough physical fouls. PAASL does not consider this to be a pervasive problem in our league and among our referees. Despite this, trend, PAASL continues to forward all feedback to referees that a game was overly physical and out of control.
Any feedback which communicates a match had too many fouls or too many cards is not actionable. Player safety is more important than game flow. Dissent is not tolerated.
3. Comment: I swore. What's the big deal?
Response: FIFA Laws of the Game, Law 12, specifically states that a "using offensive, insulting, or abusive language and/or gestures" is a Sending-Off Offence. As such, all referees are within their rights to issue red cards for swearing. Please understand that common convention in adult leagues may be to permit casual swearing, and in some cases a referee may permit offensive language when addressing other adults. However, all players need to understand that swearing is a technical violation of the rules and any warning, yellow, or red card which comes from the referee is permissible and in FIFA's opinion, warranted.
4. Comment: The referee missed about 10 offside calls resulting in goals.
Response: Offside is a complex rule. FIFA devotes an entire chapter in Laws of the Game just to offside. The latest rule changes in 2017 made the rule even more complex. In general, unless there is clear and convincing evidence offside was improperly called, which likely requires slow motion video tape footage like you see on television, there is no way for both a player on the field, or PAASL retroactively, to determine if the referee got the call correct or not. Please be respectful of the referees, understand PAASL is recreational and intentionally does not keep scores or standings, and get on with the game.
5. Comment: Check in was improper. There is unequal enforcement of jewelry and fitness trackers. We were forced to play 9v11. A player substituted due to a yellow card was forced to sit for 5 minutes instead of being allowed back on at the next stoppage in play. The referee did not permit our team to substitute following a yellow or red card.
Response: PAASL specific rules, which are set by PAASL Board of Directors, are found here: http://paasl.org/build.cfm?root=template.cfm&CONTENT=PaaslRules.cfm. Our referees are expected to enforce these rules. Referees do make mistakes. When feedback of this sort comes in, the situation is investigated with the referee involved.
6. Comment: He made a lot of commentary during the game, telling players that they did something well or poorly. The referee made rude comments to spectators about our game.
Response: PAASL agrees that referees should be focused on being referees, not spectators or commentators. Constructive feedback was communicated to the referee.