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-= The Job is Not Over Until the Paperwork is Done =-
The Job is Not Over Until the Paperwork is Done
by Brian Goodlander - (published in Referee Magazine) - 10/00
A Referee for Soccer Association for Youth (SAY), USSF, college and high school in Cincinnati.
He is a USSF Assessor and Instructor. Additionally, he is a board member of the...
South West Ohio Soccer Officials Association (SWOSOA).

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Like many other jobs, refereeing has itís high points and itís low points. The high points are when you get the great assignment and perform with excellence to prove that you deserved the assignment. The low points are often the paperwork that comes after the match is over. Paperwork for referees comes in a multitude of forms. Game Reports are often required for matches. Ejection or Send-Off Reports are common in high school and collegiate matches. Incident Reports are often required for recording unusual or dangerous events.

Game Reports - Many games do not require formal reports. They may use different forms in different leagues and in different soccer organizations. Some leagues have a game card that must be filled out and signed by coaches after every match. Other leagues do not require any sort of game card or report.

A report that I perform after every match is a game log. In this game log I track what teams played, the level of the match, the date, the sex of the teams, and what referees I worked with during the match. I keep this information on a searchable spreadsheet and can tell you in moments how many U15 girls USSF matches I performed in 1998 or any other combination. It is not important to keep your log on a computer, but keeping track of the games you have worked is important when you go for an upgrade, apply for a tournament, or want to ďbragĒ to your friends about the number and level of games you have worked.

Amateur and Professional USSF matches require a Game Report with every match. The USSF has a Game Report form that is very well written and relatively easy to use. There are a few basic pointers to filling this form out well. Be brief, clear, legible, use appropriate language, do not include opinions, and be complete. The form is a good form but a form nonetheless. Therefore it is important that you are brief and to the point. Do not use long sentences for information that can be conveyed in a few words. Clarity is a necessity to drive understanding and goes hand-in-hand with being brief. If the report is illegible when received at the main office, it will serve no good to you, the teams involved, or to the Federation. Use the proper terms when filling out this report. If you cautioned someone donít say it was because he did something stupid. Say that it was due to unsporting behavior or reckless behavior. Your job in filling out this report is to provide information, not give your opinion on how the information should be used. Finally, fill in all the needed information completely. If you require additional room to convey additional information about a specific incident, the USSF has a supplemental report for that purpose. An assessor once told me that it may be helpful to fill out one of these Game Reports for each match I perform whether it is required or not. The associated information is available if needed and in the process I would become proficient at completing Game Reports. This is excellent advise that I regret I have not followed. Consider it.

Send-Off/Ejection Reports - The National Federation of High Schools and the NCAA both require a report to be filed with the main office in the event that a player or coach is sent-off. This allows the Federation or Association to know that a serious incident has occurred and that the referee has responded. It also provides a medium for the school to provide their perspective to the Federation or Association. The Federation or Association can now respond to the send-off fully armed with all the information they need to act fairly and justly towards the sent-off coach or player. Similar to the USSF requirements, this report should be filled out completely and in a timely fashion following the match.

Incident Report - An Incident Report is probably the most important report that a referee can fill out. Why is the Incident Report so important? Because this is often your official record of your account of the incident. The incident could have been a serious injury or a situation that may result in prosecution against you. By having the report written, dated and signed the information locks the event in time. During the 2000 National Association of Sports Officials (NASO) Convention in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Mel Narol, Sports Attorney, provided some excellent information about the when's and what's of writing incident reports related to serious injuries. Mr. Narol stated that three things are need to be done by the referees when they are involved in a match with a serious injury. (1) Record it. Who was involved? Get names, if possible. When did it happen? The 67th minute during a corner kick, for example. What happened? Describe the event using the reporting criteria stated above. Where did it happen? What field, in what city, and where on the field did it occur? Were there any witnesses? It is best to get the names and phone numbers of both friendly and unfriendly witnesses. (2) Send it. Send a copy of your incident report to your local association, particularly if their secretary maintains such records for the association members. Send a copy to the league for their information. Send a copy to any state associations that may need the information. If it is a high school or collegiate match, send a copy to both schools. Finally, if the incident was a truly serious incident and you are a member, send a copy to NASO. (3) Save it. It is critical that you save the report for any litigation that may occur. Remember, when dealing with minors the statute of limitations is 2-3 years after the age of 18 (varies from state to state). That means if the event occurred in a U-9 match, you need to save the report until that player is 20-21 years old or 12-13 years from the incident. Mr. Narol also reminded all in attendance that it is NOT your job to deal with an injury. The only exception is if it is a life-threatening situation that you are qualified to handle.

Nobody enjoys paperwork but it is a necessary evil, and if you took a match assignment, that assignment is not over until the reports are written and sent to the proper administrators

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