Match Inspections and Reward system
During the past few years the match inspection system proved to be the catalyst in the performance management system. It was clear from the many opinions submitted by referees and other interested parties that a consistent match inspection system enhances the performance of the referees under observation. The constructive feedback inherent in the system has been praised by the best referees and made a difference in their performances over the course of the season.
However, the greatest obstacle to the full implementation of the system was the cost of the programme. The Secretariat responded by requesting additional funds from The League for the inspectors, appointing additional inspectors in local areas where Premier League teams play and requiring more accurate reporting from all inspectors. Unfortunately, a few areas in the system require immediate attention.
The inspection system utilised experienced referees to assess the performance of match officials for selected matches in the Premier League. Inspectors then used a standard form to rate the performance of referees in eight areas (personality, degree of difficulty, stoppages, advantage, linesmen, interpretation of the Laws, positioning movement and physical condition, overall control and authority. Each area was rated on a point scale of one through ten, with ten being the highest. The performance rating was then obtained from a simple average of the combined scores.
However, the simple averaging system was flawed in that it does not reflect the relative impact of each area on the match itself. For instance, personality and appearance were given the same weight as positioning and knowledge of the Laws of the Game. It was felt that faulty application of the Laws must be given more weight than the act of rolling up sleeves and socks since the two impact the flow and outcome of the match completely differently. We therefore moved immediately to a weighted averaging of the performance rating system.
The weighted average attaches relative values to each performance category based on how those areas impact the flow and outcome of the match directly. The following table is used to evaluate performance:
AREA & MAXIMUM POINTS
Degree of Difficulty 5
Interpretation of the Laws 25
Overall Control & Authority 15
The table above reflects the relative values placed on each activity during the course of the match. It gives more weight to the areas of activity that impact the most on the flow and the outcome of the match. It would also be important to have a system of automatic referrals for scores below a certain level. The critical minimum overall score is a matter for debate by the NRC. However, this guideline was set to allow for automatic referrals to Review and Disciplinary.
A quality assurance programme cannot be successful without the requisite reward system intended to institutionalise positive reinforcement. In this light, we must create a means by which we can provide some positive feedback to the referees in a systematic way. One method of doing so is to establish a monthly referees rating system that publicly recognises referees for their good performance. The accumulated points would automatically make them eligible for the Referee of the Year Award given at the Annual SAFA Awards Dinner. The referees with the best performance rating will then be awarded Referee of the Year prizes in the respective divisions.
The annual dinner could recognise referees on the three panels and award them for work in their division (2nd, 1st and Premier). We can then set up a panel comprised of journalists, NRC officials, sponsors and other luminaries and soccer watchers to decide on the Referee of the Year. This will have the effect of lifting morale among the referees, engage the media in a non-adversarial way and facilitate a positive means of feedback to the referees.
We can also ask the Provincial Affairs Department to ensure that amateur-level (regional and district) referees be recognised in the 25 SAFA Regions on an annual basis in order for us to select from the resulting group of top performers for posts to officiate in the higher divisions.