Referee Directors Message - Spring 2021


Gesse Faber & Mark Plecinoga
[email protected] (goes to both)

Hello Assignors and Referees!

Welcome to the spring season! We are back to “almost normal” soccer this season. All the BAYS rules and LOTG are in effect this season. The fall 2020 temporary modifications to the LOTG have been rescinded, except for the requirement that all players, coaches, and spectators must wear a mask. One new modification adapted by BAYS this season is referees are required to enforce mask wearing by players on the field of play in the same manner they would enforce the use of any other safety equipment, like wearing shin guards. Referees are otherwise not the COVID-19 police and they do not enforce any off-the-field-of-play requirements.

The 2019-2020 changes to the Laws of the Game remain in effect this season. IFAB has added a clarification to a handball in its 2020-2021 LOTG publication:

  • The boundary between the shoulder and the arm is defined as the bottom of the armpit (see diagram.)
  • ‘Accidental’ handball by an attacking player (or teammate) is only penalized if it occurs ‘immediately’ before a goal or clear goal-scoring opportunity.


Highlights of the LOTG changes can be found in the Referees menu on the BAYS website or by clicking here:

General Information

In general, each referee is advised to review the most recent Mass Youth Soccer Return to Soccer Activities guidelines at

Please note, this guidance while in effect as of this writing, is fluid in nature and is expected to change as circumstances evolve. Further, each referee should also review the MA Youth Soccer presentation on return to soccer activities, found on the web page from the hyperlink above, as it is an excellent example of how players, coaches, and staff are being guided.

Referee Health – Monitor your health! If you do not feel well contact a licensed medical professional for guidance. If you are sick, recovering from being sick, or under a quarantine order, you may not participate in refereeing soccer matches. There will be no stigma attached to declining any match at any time, and a referee need not provide a reason why they are declining any match, or any health information at any time.

Referee Responsibilities

  • Arrive at your matches at least 20 minutes prior to kickoff.
  • Verify all coaches on the sideline (maximum of 3) have MYSA 2020-2021 credentials. The game may not kick off if there is not a credentialed adult in each technical area.
  • Collect two (2) paper rosters from each coach. Keep one roster and give the other one to the opposing coach. Coaches should write in player’s numbers (if not preprinted) and cross off any coaches or players absent. Referees should assure the number of people in the technical area corresponds to those listed as present on the roster.
  • Referees should perform a safety check of the players (e.g., shin guards, casts, jewelry) while maintaining at least six feet of social distancing. For the spring 2021 season, referees will make sure each player is wearing a mask during check-in and during the entire game. Referees will enforce mask wearing by players as they would for any other safety equipment (e.g., shin guards.)
  • Player pass cards are not required during the spring season.
  • Know the LOTG and the rules of competition for the match you are doing.

During a Match:

  • Referees must always wear a mask before, during, and after the match. Players, spectators and team officials are also required to wear a mask.
    • For safety concerns, players may only wear ear-loop masks. Neck gaiters, vented masks, bandanas, etc. are not allowed.
  • Always keep at least 6 feet away from any participant before, during, and after the match. This includes, but is not limited to, pre-match inspections, during active play, half-time intervals, and at the conclusion of the match.
  • Allow flexibility on spectator placement. While any spectator must be a minimum of 6 feet from the field, they may require additional spaces around the field to watch a match. Please be flexible in this regard.
  • Referees must use a signaling device that does not produce respiratory droplets. Electronic whistles are recommended.
  • Do not share referee equipment with other referees unless thoroughly cleaned prior to an exchange.
  • Do not engage in any post-match celebrations such as a handshake line.

After a Match:

  • Keep your mask on until you depart the field. Players, coaches, spectators, and referees are required to depart the field immediately after the game to allow ample time for the participants of the next game to arrive while maintaining the state mandated maximum number of people allowed at the field.
  • File your game report (preferably on the same day as the game.) This is a requirement to get paid. The game report has been modified, clarifying some questions, and adding questions about issuing yellow cards, red cards and if there were any serious injuries during the game.

We hope you will have a safe and fun experience refereeing games this season.

Have a great season!

Gesse & Mark