Referee Appointments: An Assignor Perspective

I think it’s important to be able to understand the mindset of an assignor to understand how referee appointments work which is useful knowledge for any referee.

To start I will refer you to factors in international referee selection beautifully outlined by Jenna from Play the Advantage.

For a direct plunge, here are the questions I ask in order and the referee to satisfy the most questions gets the game(s) for my specific league, of course.

  1. Who is available to do the games? (availability)
  2. Who is able to do the games? (refereeing ability)
  3. Who has had the least amount of appointments given to them this season? (fairness)
  4. Who has refereed the least recently? (Least Recently Used)
  5. Who has the highest test mark? (knowledgeable)
  6. Who is the most committed? (commitment)

I look into more of my own assigning algorithm and you’ll see all the factors involved. Most of what is described is intuitive and I hope is fair. Managing a league of 100+ teams makes it extremely difficult to avoid appointing the same referee to the same team more than once or twice. I try to avoid it if I can help it but it’s not always feasible. Definitely much easier when it is a 10-15 team league relatively speaking.

The last few criterion are usually decisive on big game days and are the factors that give certain referees the edge over others in getting a decent amount of games/shifts in. Other factors that are important off the field tie with commitment which can rank much higher in this algorithm depending on the referee.

A lot depends on the league e.g. location, physical & mental toll of refereeing one match, overall likely time commitment and of course the match level which can determine so many other things. Things also change when it comes to cup/playoff appointments where the higher the match is in the cup tree, the more prestigeous the appointment and the higher expectation there is for the referee to perform at a higher level.

The test mark criterion is something unique to my own league given that my role is responsible for referee development as well. Not all referee assignors are fully involved in that aspect although they certainly do care about the calibre of officiating in their league. The difference is that some assignors may not be involved in developing referees beyond the purpose of their own league and pushing them forward to take the next step if they are willing to provide the commitment.

How about this policy for the UEFA Euro Futsal tournament!

I find my management of a league’s referee list effect different to others. From observation, a lot of my referees appear to hit a plateau in their performance leaving a strong senior/experienced roster which works well for my successors but not necessarily for the referees in the league who don’t receive many match appointments during the season.

Something I need to think on.


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