Referee Disciplinary Policy

USQ is dedicated to maintaining the highest quality referees. Being a USQ certified head referee is a privilege, not a right. Obtaining certification is purposefully difficult, and once one becomes a head referee, continued certification is not guaranteed. There are two main ways that one can have their head referee status jeopardized: poor performance as a referee, and unprofessional behavior. This policy document outlines the steps and procedures for the two different disciplinary tracks - performance and professionalism.

USQ receives feedback on its referees in a variety of ways, but the primary method is through referee evaluations. If a referee receives either a sufficient number of negative evaluations or particularly thorough or concerning reviews, then USQ will investigate the referee in question. If the complaints about the referee are found to be valid, then that referee is subject to the USQ Referee Disciplinary Policy for performance and/or professionalism as warranted. These policies are geared mostly towards head referees, but are also applicable (with modification where warranted) to assistant referees, snitch referees, and goal referees.

Performance

Examples of performance-related issues that could lead to discipline include, but are not limited to: the referee missing too many calls; the referee misinterpreting or not knowing the rulebook; the referee allowing dangerous play; and the referee failing to maintain consistency with their calls.

Step 1: Probation

    1. The referee will receive an email from USQ informing the referee that they are on probation.

    2. The email will include quotes from relevant evaluations, other pertinent feedback, and suggestions from USQ referee advancement coordinators on how the referee can improve their performance in order to once again be fully certified in good standing.While on probation, the referee in question will be monitored more closely than usual.  

    3. While on probation, the referee in question is still permitted to act as a head referee for official USQ matches and suffers no other disciplinary sanctions.

    4. If USQ receives further indications of negative performance while the referee is on probation, the referee will be suspended.

Step 2: Suspension

    1. The referee will receive an email from USQ informing them that have been suspended.

    2. The email will include the reasons why the referee has been suspended, as well as definitive benchmarks from referee advancement coordinators on how the referee needs to improve their performance.

    3. While on suspension, the referee shall not be permitted to act as head referee for official USQ matches except under the supervision of a member of the USQ Officials team.

    4. If the referee does not improve their performance and continues to perform poorly, the referee will be decertified.

Step 3: De-Certification

    1. The referee will receive an email from USQ informing the referee that they have been decertified.

    2. The referee will not be permitted to act as head referee for official USQ matches for the remainder of the season.

    3. The referee will be eligible to take all head referee written and field tests for the next season without penalty, although the referee will not qualify for provisional certification status for that season.

Whether and when a referee is put on probation, suspended, or decertified is at the sole discretion of USQ. A referee may not necessarily progress through the steps in chronological order; if the situation warrants it, a referee can be suspended or decertified without the preceding steps.

Professionalism

Examples of professionalism related issues that could lead to discipline include, but are not limited to: disrespecting players, coaches, or other referees; showing bias towards or against a team; allowing players or coaches to impact the referee’s calls; and engaging in inappropriate behavior in or out of uniform (as a reminder, the USQ player disciplinary policy can be found here).

Step 1: Probation

    1. The referee will receive an email from USQ informing the referee that they are on probation.

    2. The email will include quotes from relevant complaints, other pertinent feedback, and suggestions from USQ referee advancement coordinators on steps the referee should take to improve their professionalism.

    3. While on probation, the referee in question will be monitored more than usual.

    4. While on probation, the referee in question is still permitted to act as a head referee for official USQ matches and suffers no other disciplinary sanctions.

    5. If USQ receives further reports of a lack of professionalism while the referee is on probation, the referee will be suspended.

Step 2: Suspension

    1. The referee will receive an email from USQ informing the referee that they have been suspended.

    2. The email shall include the reasons why the referee has been suspended.

    3. While suspended for professionalism reasons, the referee shall not be permitted to act as head referee for official USQ matches. Instead, the referee shall be required to act as an assistant referee for a certain amount of games.

    4. This amount shall be specified in the email informing the referee of their suspension.

    5. If the referee successfully acts as an assistant referee for the specified amount of games without further incident, the suspension shall be lifted. Otherwise, the referee will be decertified. This determination will be based on reviews from the games that the referee acted as assistant referee for, including direct feedback from the head referee for those games.

Step 3: De-Certification

    1. The referee will receive an email from USQ informing the referee that they have been decertified.

    2. The referee shall not be permitted to act as head referee for official USQ matches for the remainder of the season.

    3. The referee shall be eligible to take all head referee written and field tests for the next season without penalty, although the referee shall not qualify for provisional certification status for that season.

Length of Disciplinary Sanctions

  1. Whether and when a referee is put on probation, suspended, or decertified is at the sole discretion of USQ.

  2. A referee is not guaranteed to go through any or all of the above steps. If the situation warrants it, a referee can be suspended or decertified without the preceding steps at USQ’s discretion.

  3. When a referee is placed on probation or is suspended, that referee remains in probation or suspension until otherwise notified by USQ.

 

On Site Discipline

All staffing decisions with regards to referees are at the tournament director’s sole discretion. The tournament director has the authority to prohibit a referee from officiating one or more games at the event for any reason, including, but not limited to:

  1. The referee has been ejected from the tournament as a player or coach.

  2. The referee has displayed bias towards or against a team that the referee would officiate. This includes if the referee is or has previously been associated with one of the teams in question.

  3. The referee has displayed other unprofessional conduct at the event, including but not limited to violations of USQ’s Code of Conduct and Fair Play Policy.

  4. The referee has failed to demonstrated an ability to officiate games at what the tournament director feels is an acceptable level.

Note that the tournament director should not take a team’s request regarding a referee into account unless it directly relates to one of the above reasons; though again, the ultimate decision lies with the tournament director.