The Northern Virginia Coaches League (NOVA-CL) requires teams to use league approved assignors to obtain referees for their matches. This is because there many negative impacts that take away from the sportsmanship and league culture the league, its teams, and players have all worked so hard to achieve.
Here’s why the requirement is in place:
- There is an unavoidable appearance of bias when a team independently hires a referee. The atmosphere of fairness & objectivity that competitive matches require is compromised. Fairly or not, the opponent perceives bias in favor of the home team.
- This perception unsettles players and may lead to rough play, retaliation. Bitterness can linger which, in turn, feeds rivalry that can carry over into future matches. This means the next referee may inherit a match with preexisting tension, not a good start in a league that relies on single-man officiating.
- Use of referee assignors eliminates perceived bias — and although teams will continue to be critical of referees — they cannot call into question the objectivity of an independently assigned ref.
- As part of their services, referees are required to provide match reports. The use of approved assignors provides oversight to ensure the reports are completed in a timely manner.
- As important, there are times when a referee becomes a witness to reckless play, player assault and referee assault. Though these actions are rare, the ref and his observations are key components in league investigations, something that may be lost when an independently obtained referee officiates a match.
- Lastly, experience has shown that when teams hire an independent referee for their matches, it’s often a cost-cutting measure. Standards can quickly drop, leading to more on-field complaints and bickering. Overall game satisfaction declines.