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Year End Review - Refereeing Department

By OSA News, 12/16/14, 9:15AM EST


The past year has been a time of great change in the Referee Development with the introduction of the Grading Protocol and the Technical Advisory Group. These two initiatives are the biggest changes this program has seen in decades.

Why a Grading Protocol?

  • Make grades meaningful and standardized 
  • Ensure that referees of the correct grade are assigned to games 
  • Provide tools to Districts and Assignors Grading Protocol Implementation Impact 
  • Clearly outlines requirements to obtain and maintain a grade 
  • Establish unified standard across Ontario 
  • Further defines Grades 5, 6 and 8 • Reduce subjectivity of Grades 
  • Promotes education and development 
  • Build foundations for a clear Career Path 


In 2013, they saw a need for more succession planning, community involvement, and the expansion of existing programs in order to facilitate the changes ahead.  They mirrored the Technical Advisory Council as it had been so successful and created six pillars of leadership, with three leaders per pillar.

Other upgrades

It was imperative to them that every Referee will benefit from the pillars work and programs Pillars presented their three year plans to the DRCs in November 2014 and all were approved/accepted.

There has been some great forward momentum the past 2.5 to 3 years, resulting in a 2.3 per cent increase in retention rate (over two years), a record number of UG Applicants (90+), with 80 accepted.

In addition, Ontario officials are being assigned to all levels of Club Nationals and Regional Competitions.

ART Graduates have been assigned to MLS games and PRO Referees Association.

Creating technological efficiencies within the department has allowed them to concentrate more of their  time on development and listening and working with the officials.

When they introduced online registration in 2011, only 65 per cent of registrants embraced it, in 2014 we are up to 98.5 per cent reducing the paper flow in the department. In 2013 they mandated an ‘Education Evaluation’ as part of registration, but did not require certain marks to be met – so the average mark in 2013 was 65 per cent 

In 2014 the average mark was 82 per cent as they have instituted requirements, and a mark will now affect a referees grade, and their game assignments.

Further more, fitness standards were introduced at the District Referee level for the first time. All districts ran District Fitness Tests, and those that passed the required standard were placed in a grade pool that could now be permitted the higher level games, those that require a certain level of fitness.

They have concentrated their time on outreach in 2014 – communicating with the base of the referee development pyramid – and met over 2,500 officials face to face.

This is making a significant difference in how the OSA is seen in the referee community.