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clarifying the rules on calling unsanctioned games

Ontario Soccer Association would like to remind referees of the rules surrounding calling unsanctioned games in the province. 

Unsanctioned soccer matches are those games which are neither organized, nor sanctioned by the Ontario Soccer Association (OSA), the Canadian Soccer Association or FIFA. For clarity, leagues are sanctioned through the district association, and ultimately through the OSA. 

If you are unsure if the league you have been invited to officiate is sanctioned, or a recognized associate member, please contact your district office directly. A directory of district associations can be found here.

If any referee that is currently registered with the OSA officiates an unsanctioned competition, disciplinary action can and will be taken by the Association.

When officiating unsanctioned games referees are not be covered by the provincial insurance program, which is provided as part of their registration to the OSA. This insurance is not health insurance; it is liability insurance. This covers referees and provides them with legal representation should it be needed in today’s litigious society. 

Also, if there are any issues on the field of play, there is no recourse to pursue discipline within the OSA structure.  If a referee chooses to officiate in any unsanctioned game, they will assume all the risk.

Other impacts of officiating unsanctioned games include:

  • None of the games will count towards any OSA game requirements for maintenance, upgrade or other
  • No assessments completed in unsanctioned competition will be recognized by the OSA
  • No support will be provided in the cases of Referee Assault
  • No support will be provided to a referee in any discipline situation

Moreover, the OSA would like to reiterate that registered referees are prohibited from wearing CSA or OSA badges if officiating in unsanctioned games. CSA and OSA grant the use of their logo in official, sanctioned games only. 

The OSA strongly advises that referees confirm that games are properly sanctioned before agreeing to officiate in that game.

Further, please refer to the following OSA Rule 4.58, for information on suspensions that can result from officiating in an unsanctioned game:

  • A first offence for officiating in an unsanctioned game is a 30-day suspension
  • A second offence for officiating in an unsanctioned game is a 3-6 month suspension
  • A third offence for officiating in an unsanctioned game is a 1-2 year suspension

Also, please refer to the CSA Rules, Regulations and Administrative Guide which states:

9. Appointments

(a) Registered Referees shall not officiate in any Competition or League, which is not sanctioned, or a Match in which unaffiliated clubs compete.

Please be safe and make informed, educated decisions when officiating this year.