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Referee Compensation Increase Information

As discussed at the AGM, a major issue in recruiting and retaining referees is believed to be referee compensation. The members of CSA were supportive of an increase, and CSA and the Referee Committee studied what would be a fair and reasonable increase. The following increase has been approved. While a more detailed analysis will be made available soon, we wanted to let the clubs know of the increase before the referees were informed.


This information is being used to assist in efforts to increase the number of referees re-certifying, as there are a number of games that are ‘open’ this weekend… that is that do not have coverage by certified referees as of today.


The market-clearing price for soccer officials is much higher than what is currently paid in Colorado, particularly for matches at the U14 age group and below.  New referees accurately perceive the compensation is low, and being inexperienced and mistake-prone, they also are often threatened and abused.  Thus they leave the officiating profession early, tell their friends about the experience, and defeat any potential recruitment efforts.  To assist with recruiting and retention efforts, this week, CSA approved a pay increase for referees throughout the state.  The increase goes into effect on August 1, 2016, and applies to all CSA-governed matches, including advanced league play, President’s Cup, and State Cup.  The new pay structure includes:

Base Referee Compensation Increase: This increase applies across the board to all officials throughout the state, and is structured as shown in the table below:


Premium Pay for Advanced-Grade Referees - Experienced, high-performance referees that meet the physical fitness and assessment requirements to advance in grade, and continue to meet the annual maintenance requirements to stay in grade (or have in the past for a sustained number of years), are compensated accordingly.  These officials are paid a premium per match, (for their expertise and experience) regardless of the position or age bracket officiated.  The premiums are shown in the table below.


Solo-Referee Bonus Pay - When a referee fails to appear for an assigned match, it places an undue burden on the officials who arrive as scheduled.  In rare circumstances where two officials fail to appear as scheduled, the referee must officiate the game alone - commonly called an iron-man.  In addition to his or her usual duties, the referee must also make offside and match-critical goal line decisions.  This involves substantial additional running, increased multi-tasking, and increased need to focus on any additional tasks imposed.  To compensate officials for extra (and usually unexpected) work for a scheduled three-official match, the bonus pay for solo-referee duty is shown in the table below.


Escalating End-of-Season Bonus Pay - One reason many matches have fewer than three officials assigned is that a substantial number of referees are not inclined to work more than one match per day.  While referee crews at the intercollegiate and professional levels are expected to officiate only one match per day that is not the reality on youth fields during league play.  To encourage referees to officiate multiple matches per league play date, they will be paid an end-of-season bonus based on the total number matches officiated as shown in the table below.