Referee changes tops soccer meeting

Possible changes to refereeing dominated an executive meeting of the Borderland Soccer League last night at Fort Frances High School.
The issue arose after league president Shane Beckett and a few others from the executive went to the annual general meeting for Soccer Northwest back in January.
That’s where they learned of the harsh consequences that can result if referees haven’t paid their dues to Soccer Ontario or are not registered.
To give local referees an incentive to pay their dues, the league is looking at boosting their payment to $50/game, but then using extra players from the teams competing as linesmen without being paid.
“There’s no way that minor hockey would allow someone, who isn’t qualified and someone who hasn’t paid their dues, to referee games, so I think to save us a lot of headaches that is something that we really need to look into,” Beckett said after the hour-long meeting.
“And if you increase the amount of money they are going to get paid, then they’d be more than willing to become a referee as a part-time job,” he added.
Some of the concerns that can result from a referee not being registered with Soccer Ontario involve liability, in that if a player gets injured while playing, then the league would get entangled in workers’ compensation issues.
Another interesting item brought forward during last night’s executive meeting was the idea of possibly unifying the local youth soccer league, high school teams, and senior league into one entity.
“I think that if we have one body, then we can all move in the same direction,” said Beckett.
“I think all of the subsidiaries of soccer—high school, youth league, and senior league—all have ideas on how to make soccer better in town, but we don’t get together to do that.
“If we had one forum, then we would work together to get everything done,” he reasoned.
In related news, the league will hold its annual general meeting next Wednesday (April 20) at 7 p.m. in Room 138 at Fort High.
It is open to anyone who is interested in joining a team or is already part of a team.
Items like the ones mentioned above will be up for discussion, plus many more. Registration dates and fees also will be set next Wednesday.