According to Rule 7.4 of the Canterbury District Soccer Football Association:
- 7.4.1 – Each Club must provide at least one official for each field that is being played upon, and
- 7.4.2 – Each Club official must be clearly visible and be identified as an official.
This is a pre-requisite for play proceeding, so we must oblige. Each team will receive an Official’s vest this season, so you will just have to decide who wears it! It obviously cannot be the Coach or Manager of the team playing at that time, so teams should nominate one or two other parents who can take on the job. These people should become registered as Officials, to indicate they have signed the CDSFA Code of Conduct and Child Protection forms, and so they are covered by the insurances provided by Football NSW. The above rule implies that both home and away teams should provide a Ground Official at games.
The Ground Official is primarily at the ground to
- make themselves known to the Referee before the start of the match, and remain visible to him/her; you may be required to assist if there are any issues between teams, or in any other matters,
- inspect the field before play starts and check, together with the Ground Manager, that the goalposts are properly erected (especially for the first game of the day), and that no one climbs or swings on the goalposts at any time,
- ensure that only eligible parents (ie coaches & managers with registration cards) are on the playing field side of the ropes, and that no one (including these people) enters the field of play to treat injured players etc. unless signalled by the referee,
- ensure that matches start at the scheduled kick-off time from the first game onwards and that in the event of a game going over time the next game is reduced to ensure that time is made up,
- ensure that the area behind the goal is kept clear at all times, and that warm-up sessions are kept away from the field of play,
- help keep the peace in the event of any particularly unruly parents or over-zealous and unsportsmanlike barracking, and get assistance if necessary,
- ensure that alcohol is not consumed within the immediate vicinity of the playing field, and not anywhere until after completion of the last match,
- assist with any disputes by consulting the rule book, checking with another official, particularly the Ground Manager, or asking him/her to phone a Club committee member for clarification. Folders containing phone numbers, the FIFA “Laws of the Game”, CDSFA Code of Conduct and current CDSFA Rules of Association, plus the CDSFA small sided and and non-competitive Rules, are in the Canteen at King George. Hopefully other Clubs are as well organised!!
The nice thing about volunteering for the Ground Official spot is that you generally get to watch most of the game. Many of the above duties will obviously not apply to under 6 to under 9 games. A Ground Official is still required at these games though, in particular to make sure parents, siblings, dogs, etc are kept back a metre or so from the sideline. Many of the smaller fields are not roped off.
In all other matters pertaining to ground control, the Club & Ground Official must ensure that no conduct is permitted that would prove prejudicial to the Club or Association.
We hope this doesn’t all sound too daunting!
Leichhardt Saints Football Club Committee 2011