Code of Ethics and Ethical Standards for Officals


Officials play an integral role in the sport of soccer and they must recognize their impact on the game, its participants and their fellow officials. The purpose of this document is to give a general statement of the principles of conduct, which are required of officials in order to fulfill their duties to players, colleagues and administrators.

Broad Principles

Officials are expected to uphold and advance high standards of ethical conduct by being honest and impartial; increasing their competence and prestige; using their knowledge and skill to improve the game; and, respecting the dignity and status of, and relationships with, their colleagues.



Individuals who are registered with the BCSA who perform capably as, but not limited to, referees, referee administrators, referee assignors, referee instructors and referee assessors during sanctioned activities.


Individuals who are registered as a member of the British Columbia Soccer Association.


A violation in behaviour outlined by FIFA in the Laws of the Game handbook and/or the BCSA Bylaws by an individual entrusted with the administration of those laws.


Individuals taking part in sport. (athletes and family members, coaches, officials, volunteers, and administrators)


Consideration of the dignity of others; courteous regard.


A non-compliance with the Code of Ethics and Ethical Standards as defined.

Code of Ethics

The British Columbia Soccer Association (BCSA) is aware of its responsibilities toward its referees and, having granted certain privileges to referees, it is obliged to ensure such individuals realize and respect their responsibilities and duties.

A BCSA registered official shall:

  • Conduct himself/herself with dignity at all times.
  • Know the Laws of the Game as outlined in the FIFA Laws of the Game handbook. This includes keeping current of any and all changes.
  • Abide by the rules and regulations of the Association and not bring into question his/her or the game's integrity.
  • By personal example; endeavour to inspire the true principles of fair play and to earn the respect of those whom he/she serves.
  • Not cause the BCSA to become involved in any controversial matters.
  • Adhere to all national/provincial standards and directives.
  • Always be neat in appearance and maintain a high level of physical and mental fitness.
  • Perform his/her designated responsibilities, including attending organized clinics, lectures, etc.
  • Assists his/her fellow referees to upgrade and raise their standard of officiating.
  • Honour all appointments unless unable to do so by virtue of illness or personal emergency.
  • Not publicly criticize other officials or any soccer association; or, compare their competence to that of other officials.
  • Not make any public statement to the media (newspaper, television, radio, etc.) regarding game officiated by him/her, the quality of the match or the performance of the teams and their players.
  • Follow the correct lines of communication to both the Canadian Soccer Association Referees' Committee (which shall be through the provincial association of registration) and the British Columbia Soccer Association.

Standards of Ethical Conduct

Duly registered officials are expected to demonstrate excellence in conduct and ability at each match in which they participate or observe. This covers the time from arrival until departure from the field. In preparation for officiating, officials must devote time, thought, and study to the Laws of the Game and mechanics of officiating.

BCSA registered officials are expected to comply with the following standards:

A. Referee Registration

  • A referee is considered registered when the BCSA office has received and accepted a completed registration form.
  • A referee registration card is issued by the BCSA on an annual basis.

B. Restriction on Referee as a Player

  • When registered, a referee shall not be eligible as a player in any competition in which he/she is a game official.

C. Education

  • Officials must keep abreast of annual Law changes.
  • Officials are encouraged to attend BCSA educational programs.
  • Officials are encouraged to join and participate in the BCSRA.

D. Unaffiliated Games

  • Registered referees must not officiate unaffiliated matches. Some ample reasons why referees should not work these games are:
    • No assessments may be accepted from games in unaffiliated leagues/districts.
    • There is no liability insurance in unaffiliated leagues/districts for the referee's protection.
    • If the official is assaulted or should there be any other serious misconduct, the BCSA cannot discipline or review the incident.
    • The official may not be able to fulfill the BCSA requirements to work a certain level of affiliated games.
    • Registration in the BCSA may be denied should the official refuse to work affiliated games over unaffiliated games.

E. Assignments

  • No one shall officiate as a referee or assistant referee in any match under the sanction or jurisdiction of the BCSA who is not registered for the current year.
  • Officials must decline an officiating role if a perceived conflict of interest exists (e.g., including but not restricted to an affiliation with any team, club or league).
  • Officials must accept or reject assignments upon receipt. If an official is unable to work a match that was accepted, he/she must contact the game administrator within 72 hrs. except in cases of critical illness or acute emergency. Officials who cancel one assignment in order to work another may be disciplined.
  • Referees must mail or electronically submit the official match report no later than 48 hrs. after the game. The report must include all cautions, game date, names, numbers, team and offence.
  • Officials must report to the field ready to officiate and conduct pre-game activities (field inspection, personal equipment, instructions to assistant referees, players's equipment and identification, game ball, starting time) at least:
    • 30 minutes. Open field competition
    • 2 hours. Professional, national or international competition

F. Control of Play

  • Referees must be consistent and objective in calling all infractions, regardless of personal feelings toward a team or individual player.
  • Referees must control the players effectively by being courteous and considerate without sacrificing fairness.

G. Statements

  • Officials must refrain from public criticism of players, fellow officials and team personnel, maintaining the utmost respect for all groups.

H. Fitness and Appearance

  • Officials must maintain a high standard of physical and mental fitness.
  • Officials must be neat in appearance and wear a uniform approved by the BCSA (in severe weather, officials may wear a black jacket with the proper badge).
  • In case of a colour conflict, the officials may change to an approved coloured shirt.
  • The off-field dress code for officials, including assessors representing provincial or national association, in professional, national or international competition, is a follows:
    • Blue or black blazer with approved badge
    • Grey slacks, shirt and tie

I. Alcohol, Drugs, and Tobacco

  • Officials must never advocate or condone the use of drugs or other banned substances.
  • Officials must never provide under-age participants with alcohol; never encourage its use.
  • Referees must abstain from the use of tobacco products while in the presence of his/her officials and players.
  • Officials must abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages when officiating and working with other officials.

J. Language

  • Officials must refrain from the use of profane, insulting, harassing or otherwise offensive language in the conduct of his/her duties.

K. Safety

  • Referees must ensure, to the best of his/her ability, the safety of players and officials.

L. Discrimination, Harassment, and Unprofessional Conduct

  • Officials must comply with the BCSA Harassment Policy.
  • Officials must not discriminate against nor take undue advantage of any individual group on the basis of race, colour, religion, political belief, economic status, marital/family status, sex, sexual orientation, or ancestry.

M. Discipline

  • Officials must comply with Rule 11 (Discipline) of the BCSA Constitution & Bylaws.
  • Officials must cooperate fully in the timely resolution of any grievance hearing or complaint.
  • Officials should consider it a privilege to be part of the BCSA and those officials who violate the Code of Ethics or Ethical Standards may be subject to disciplinary action.