BENICIA ARSENAL FC Soccer Referee Policies

Benicia Arsenal FC


Age   – Referees must be 12 years or older as of Dec 31 in order to referee BENICIA ARSENAL FC games.

USSF Registration   – Remember to renew your license annually. Referees must have a current USSF registration and badge to referee.  BENICIA ARSENAL FC’s referee scheduling system –GameOfficials, is cross referenced with USSF databases.  If a referee has paid his registration fee and is awaiting a new badge, they may wear their old badge but they should carry proof of registration confirmation with them in the event of any dispute at the field.


Assignments –Referees are expected to consider the good of the game as well as their own physical capabilities in their self-assigning.   When refereeing games in the different categories on the same day, the protocol for the highest level games governs all of the day’s assignments. Please contact an assignor if you have questions or want assignments outside this protocol. Referees who violate this protocol may have their assignments modified or cancelled.

Protocol- Hi-Comp: U12 and older competitive (non-rec) matches, referees:

  • May not do back-to-back Centers (CR/CR), but may do CR and AR or two ARs (CR/AR, AR/CR, or AR/AR)
  • May not do more than 2 games in a row without a break
  • May not do more than 3 games in a day

Protocol- Low-Comp: U9-U11 competitive, referees:

  • May not do more than 2 games in a row without a break
  • May not do more than 4 games in a day with a maximum of 2 CR positions

Protocol- Hi-Rec: U14, U16, and U19 recreational matches, referees:

  • May not do more than 2 games in a row without a break
  • May not do more than 3 games in a day

Protocol – Low-Rec: U10 & U12 recreational matches, referees:

  • May not do more than 4 games in a day

Tournament assigning – BENICIA ARSENAL FC uses the Availability function in GameOfficials to accept referee availability for tournament assignments. Referees desiring to referee tournaments should set their availability accordingly and the BENICIA ARSENAL FC assignor will assign the bulk of games before opening a tournament up to self-assignment.

Common sense practices – Some good practices to follow in self assigning are:

  • Do not referee the same team more than a couple of times during a season, and allow a few weeks between the games.
  • If there is a conflict with a team, avoid refereeing another of their games in the same season.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest -that is signing on as a paid official for a game in which family members participate as a player or coach. If there is no other referee available in such a match, communicate with both coaches, try to find a solution acceptable to all and get their consent/acknowledgement before stepping on the pitch. If no amicable solution can be obtained,–do not referee the match. In all instances, the assignor needs to be informed of the conflict of interest after the game.
  • Keep fit. If you find yourself behind play all the time, assign yourself to younger age groups where referee experience may be valued more than referee speed.
  • Pay attention to the field locations and make sure to give yourself enough time to travel between sites. Plan to arrive at each and every game 30 minutes in advance to allow for proper pregame preparation.
  • Print your schedule and include the names and cell phone numbers for the referee crews.
  • Make sure your cell phone number is in your GameOfficials profile and is NOT marked private so other officials can contact you.
  • Don’t overdo it! Please respect the time and effort that the players are putting in. A referee giving an average effort in a full length game will typically travel 5-6 miles, about the same as the players. Players aren’t playing 4 games back-to-back, and they train a lot more than most referees. Keep your daily game count  in moderation and avoid the potential for chronic, long-term repetitive stress injury.

No Shows  –Once an assignment has been accepted, it is expected that game commitments are honored. Failure to give the assignors adequate notice when turning back a previously accepted match can result in suspension of self-assignment privileges or termination of your BENICIA ARSENAL FC referee status. If for some emergency, game commitments cannot be honored – notify the assignors immediately.

Ranking for Assignments   -For both self-assignment as well as tournaments, BENICIA ARSENAL FC uses a ranking system to group referees into different levels, with each level able to take on progressively more difficult, higher-level games than the level below. Once a referee feels they have advanced their skills to be able to move to a higher level, they request an evaluation and can move up upon successful demonstration of the skills for their level on a competitive match. The BENICIA ARSENAL FC ranking system uses level 2 (for new referees) through level 8. A referee has a Center and Assistant level, typically the Assistant level is one more than the Center level (for example, a new referee is a 2 CR /3 AR). Click on the Assigning link to see the games that can be done by each level of referee or assistant referee.


Weather related

Lightning Guideline – During inclement weather, if lightning is observed, the match shall be immediately halted and players and spectators shall take proper shelter. The match shall not be resumed until a period of 30 minutes has elapsed with no additional lightning or thunder. If lightning or thunder reoccurs during this interval, the 30 minute clock is reset.

Rain Outs –Team no-show – If one team does not show up, follow the league procedures for that league. If neither team shows up, wait until game time before leaving the field. File an Incident report in GameOfficials for either situation

Coach Behavior –BENICIA ARSENAL FC follows the USSF policy of “Ask, Tell, Dismiss” when dealing with coaches. Should a coach act in an irresponsible manner, the AR1 should follow the prescribed three step procedure. For the first offence – AR1 is to ASK the coach to please stop the offending behavior (ie encroachment of the touch line, patrolling the length of the pitch, stepping onto the field, open disagreement with officiating decisions) Should the coach behavior continue, AR1 is to TELL the coach to stop the offending behavior. If despite these two warnings, the coach behavior continues, the Referee is called over by AR1 to dismiss the coach. It should be noted that for behavior that is public, profane, persistent or personal, the Referee may skip the first two steps and proceed directly to a dismissal.

The sole written rationale for a coach dismissal is irresponsible behavior.   FIFA procedures dictate that no red card is displayed for a coach dismissal (Local competition rules may require other procedures ).  A coach dismissal is not a minor event in youth leagues. If no other coach is present for the youth team (or in some cases, if the youth team has no other coach with an accredited team pass), the match cannot be continued –it is terminated.

Spectator Behavior –Spectators are expected to behave themselves. If there are serious behavior problems with spectators, please file an incident report. It is generally the coach’s responsibility to control problem spectators. A coach may deny knowing the spectator and/or decline to act. In this case it is expected that the referee will let both coaches know that the problem needs to be solved (generally the spectator sent from the field, or whatever other act the referee believes is appropriate) so that the game can continue. If the coaches cannot solve the problem in 5 minutes, the game will be abandoned. In egregious cases, the referee could allow the coaches to remove all of the spectators from the venue as a condition of resuming the match.

Game Cancellation – Other than for rain outs, if a game is cancelled less than 48 hours in advance, the referee crew will be paid for the game. For rain-outs, if fields are closed from the start of the day, referees will not be paid for rained out games. If fields are closed during the day, referees will be paid only for games that are begun before the field closure is announced. Stay on top of field closures by monitoring the BENICIA ARSENAL web site –field conditions are displayed in a green box on the right side of the webpage.

Referee Crew Shortage –Should one or more of a scheduled referee crew not appear on time, BENICIA ARSENAL FC does not endorse a dual referee system of control. Please approach the home coach and ask for assistance in the form of club linesmen. Club linesmen are to be instructed that their decisions are limited to the ball going in and out of touch. Despite such instruction, should the club linesmen signal other infractions, it is up to the referee to accept or wave down those signaled infractions. Only if a club linesman changes into a correct referee uniform with a current badge and both coaches agree to his/her participation, would a referee assign normal AR duties to such a club linesman.



After the Game Reports   – Primary responsibility for filing reports lies with the Referee; however, Assistant Referees may also file reports. If all referees showed up on time as scheduled and there were no Incidents (send-offs, serious injuries, or field condition issues) to report, no After Game action is required. If there was a change of referees, or a referee did not show up as assigned, please click on After Games tab in GameOfficials and report the changes for the game. Click on the game number, Indicate Crew Change Needed and put the details in the Summary Notes field.

Incident Reports – Primary responsibility for filing Incident reports lies with the Referee, however, Assistant Referees may also file reports. Incident reports are required for all send-offs, serious injuries, or field condition issues (missing corner flags, field condition, broken sprinkler, missing net). Please do not file incident reports for player cautions; however, if you caution a coach or other team official, an Incident Report should be filed. To file an Incident Report, click on After Games in GameOfficials, then the Game #, and then the Incident Reports link at the right side of the game listing. Be factual –state exactly when the incident or injury occurred, what transpired, the referee decision, and the reaction to the referee decision. File the incident reports with BENICIA ARSENAL FC Soccer and the appropriate leagues within 24 hours of the end of the match.


General –For payment and tax purposes, all referees are deemed to be independent contractors.

Payroll – GameOfficials is the system of record for assignments and referee game fees will be paid based on the assignments shown in the system at the time payroll is run. BENICIA ARSENAL FC runs payroll frequently, usually every Tuesday during the season, and at least monthly at other times. It is critical that referees indicate crew changes using the GameOfficials’ After Game reporting within 24 hours of the game to ensure that the correct officials are paid for the match. It is each referee’s responsibility to make sure their assignments are reflected accurately in the system following their matches, and to inform the assignor of corrections as soon as possible.

Game Fees  – Game fees vary by league and age. The current game fees are listed on GameOfficials.

GoPay – BENICIA ARSENAL FC uses a game official payment service from GameOfficials called GoPay. Officials can set up a free GoPay account and receive their game fees electronically. Alternatively, referees can choose to have their game fees mailed to them which will incur a $3 check fee. Because BENICIA ARSENAL FC pays referees weekly, it is highly recommended to set up a GoPay account. Otherwise, a referee who did games every weekend during the season would pay multiple service fees. GoPay will withhold payment if a Social Security Number is not on file for a referee. For those referees unwilling to input their SSN into the GoPay system because of perceived personal privacy security issues, the alternative is to contact the BENICIA ARSENAL FC Soccer office to file an IRS Form W9 with the leagues accountant.

Solo Coverage -If a referee works a game where neither of the scheduled AR positions is filled, the referee will get paid for the CR and one AR position.


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