We have received an email from an NISL Assignor recently that we feel raises an important issue and suggests a positive solution to the problem.
The attached email details the Assignor’s direct experience involving the current referee shortage in our community. He makes a very important point that we feel deserves to be shared and emphasized:
The current referee shortage is not just due to a lack of certified officials. Many officials are simply refusing to referee games because of the overwhelmingly negative experience they are having due to hostile and aggressive coaches/parents.
As a solution the Assignor suggests instituting “Silent Weekends” in which parents and coaches are instructed that yelling or screaming during games will not be permitted and the parents' reactions during the game will be limited to cheering or clapping in the event of a goal. He suggests this for the following reasons:
- This will prevent dissent from the sidelines and other hostility to our community’s officials, many of which are young and should not be discouraged from officiating.
- It will allow players the quiet they need to concentrate and focus on the game without distractions from the sidelines.
- It will keep parents from coaching their children from the sidelines and inserting themselves into the game in an attempt to override referee decisions and official coach instruction.
The NISL whole-heartedly endorses these actions and requests that all clubs begin implementing these behavioral guidelines within their organizations to help the NISL maintain Sportsmanship and Respect in Youth Soccer Development.
Now that the league is using Bonzi/Game Officials technology, the referees will now have the ability to start instituting “Fair Play Points” at NISL games. The referees will be able to rate the quality of the game and the behavior of each team’s coaching staff and their parents.
Clubs who are supportive and display excellent Sportsmanship will be rewarded.
Clubs who are unsupportive and do not respect the game will be penalized.
Please take the time to read the Assignor’s message below as we feel it offers an important perspective that will help improve our soccer community.
- Peter Richardson, NISL President