Conflicts of interest

July 26, 2011
By TheRef
It's kind of interesting how standards change because of needs. I've mentioned a few times on here before, that I had a conversation with an assessor who said her first decision is who needs a real referee crew, and who can get by with just a "body" to fulfill USSF requirements. On the other hand, now that I'm involved in roller derby, it's very very common to see significant others wearing stripes (or non-skating official jerseys) in matches. On one hand, it makes sense: with roller derby you have a very specialized skill set (quad skating; you could use inlines, but it's generally frowned upon) in a comparatively tiny sport that doesn't pay their referees versus a much larger population of and a very easy, at least at entry level, skill set: running.

I started thinking about this because of two things: a discussion on SocRef-L about a game with an obvious conflict of interest; and because I'm looking to fill out some games as a roller derby referee this summer, to ensure I can keep my certification level (and maybe advance it again this year), which possibly working games my wife will play in. Initially, I was thinking about how that's acceptable in derby, but not in soccer - but then realized that I'd had plenty of games where I'd been the referee while my wife played footy; even to the point where I was assigned USSF games (I turned them down - and if it wasn't an automated system, I could see my being asked to keep it).

I'd also done plenty of rec leagues, especially for the first six years of my reffing career. Sometimes it was because I was thought of as the best ref available - for those who haven't read that far back, that league was great man-management training - a sort of wild west where it was a strange day if you didn't issue at least one red card in 200 minutes of soccer. Sometimes because it was simply because the teams were sick of seeing the other refs and needed some variety.

Apparently, it still boils down to needs and scale. I'm only one of two certified derby referees in this state, which puts my services in demand (good thing, since the evaluations I need to keep my cert level and advance aren't required paperwork for the teams); and sometimes, if you take away the certification bit, it's no different in any other sport, either. Read More »