COVID-19 Position Statement

Statement of Position Regarding COVID-19 Protections

 

 Soccer officials play a crucial role in maintaining the safety of participating players. Local
officiating boards bear responsibility for ensuring that officials have appropriate training,
education and support such that officials may fulfill their obligations to the players. Local
boards also have the responsibility to protect their member officials from a variety of hazards
including, but certainly not limited to, the spread of COVID-19. Measures to slow and/or
prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic that have been suggested and, in some
instances, ordered by the state and federal health authorities as well as Sectional Athletic
Councils and/or individual schools, however, may limit the ability of officials to effectively
protect the safety of the players and the integrity of the game while protecting themselves from
the threat of COVID-19. New York State Certified Officials of Soccer, Inc. (“NYSCOS”),
therefore, has adopted the following position:


• It is the responsibility of the local boards to ensure that there are adequate safeguards
in place to protect their members from contracting or transmitting COVID-19 during a
game (including pre-game and post-game activities).


• Each local board must make a determination as to whether the procedures and
safeguards put in place by the State, the Sectional Athletic Councils and/or the
competing schools to prevent transmission of COVID-19 during the games that are to
be officiated adequately protect the safety of the officials assigned to a game. If a local
board does not reasonably believe that their member officials are sufficiently protected,
the local board must institute such additional procedures as the local board deems
appropriate to protect its member officials from the spread of COVID-19, and advise
the athletic directors of the schools served by the local board of such additional
procedures. If a local board cannot reach an agreement with one or more schools
regarding the safety of the local board’s member officials, then the local board should
not allow its member officials to officiate games in which those schools are
participating.


• Local boards must respect that individual officials can, and most likely will, have varying
risks associated with the spread of COVID-19. By the way of example, some officials
may be immunocompromised or develop or be diagnosed with immunodeficiencies
during the season. Other officials may have members of their families that are
immunocompromised or have to regularly interact with immunocompromised
individuals. Accordingly, each individual official should be afforded the discretion
necessary to determine the level of risk that the official will tolerate. Moreover, no
individual official should be subject to any discipline whatsoever for refusing or turning
back an assignment when the official has an honest and reasonable belief that he or
she cannot ensure his or her personal safety while protecting the safety of the players.