What does “availability” mean?
Webster’s says: “Accessible for use, at hand, having the qualities and the willingness to take on a responsibility.” In the case of a referee, it means you are committed to the time that you designated you are available. As a referee when you provide your availability to an assignor, you are committing yourself to the time frame you designated as your available time. It is against the code of ethics to commit to more than one assignor for the same time frame. When you commit to your employer that you will work, that employer expects you to show up. This also applies to refereeing. When you commit to availability, you commit to show up. When a referee commits his/her availability to more than one assignor for the same period of time, the referee will have to turn down the other assignor(s) for the same time he/she accepts from other assignors.
When a referee provides his/her availability to an assignor, they want to be assured they will receive assignments for that period of time. However, referees should never provide their availability over the same time frame to more than one assignor. Providing availability to more than one assignor for the same time frame could be considered a breech of the referee code of ethics. Once a referee commits to a time frame to an assignor, that referee needs/must honor that commitment.
On the other hand, an assignor asking a referee for availability is committing to the referee that assignments will be given to that referee. Assignors are asking referees for their availability and should provide assignments in order to honor the request of availability. If the assignor gets more available referees than he/she has games to assign for that time frame, they should advise any referee not being assigned as soon as possible their services will not be needed. In short, an assignor should release a referee as soon as all available assignments have been filled.
From the view of both referees and assignors, availability is commitment. If a commitment cannot be fulfilled, the party that cannot fulfill the commitment must notify the other party immediately. A referee committing availability to more than one assignor for the same time frame, waiting for the best assignment, has breeched the referee code of ethics and could/should be brought to the attention of the North Texas Soccer A & D Committee.
Thank all of you for all the support you give for the North Texas Soccer Referee Program and North Texas Soccer.
NTSSA Chairman, Referee Committee