I attended a tournament this past weekend for my U11 Boys team. After arriving at the fields I noticed that none of the younger teams, U11 included, were being officiated by the required 3 referees. So before the start of my game, I asked the tournament Administrators if we could have 3 refs for our games. They stated that it was their tournament and there-for their rules, they didn’t have to provide AR for a U11 game. I said that I thought that was illegal and that I thought they had to follow sanctioned rules. They simply restated “It’s our tournament, our rules.” What are my rights as a team manager for our team? What is the rule about the number of referees required for tournaments?And is there a difference with the age of the players? What should I do before going to my next tournament to insure this does not happen again?

USSF answer (May 7, 2008):
Unfortunately, we must give you the same response we give to referees who question the crazy rules used in some tournaments. If as a referee you accept the assignment to the tournament, you must follow the rules of that competition. The same is true for teams: If you enter the tournament and play, you must accept and follow the rules of that competition.

There are other methods that can be used. These are spelled out in the USSF Referee Administrative Handbook, available to all referees. It explains what options are available if there is not a full three-man crew.  The diagonal system of control must still be used, but the Handbook provides various alternatives for absent, missing, or even unassigned crew members.  (We have published this numerous times in the past. The full details may be found in the archives. Good luck!)

An alternative that is perfectly acceptable is for the the referee to ask each team for a club linesman, i. e., a person who will hold a flag, run up and down the line, and inform the referee when the ball is out of play. The club linesman may not show direction or indicate fouls or offside. In this alternative system, that is the job of the referee. Someone might even suggest to the tournament committee that they make this system part of the process for each team in the affected age groups.

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