I was the center referee in a youth (U-9 through U-18) tournament this past weekend. Due to the size of the tournament, we had an acute referee shortage. I was forced to do two games with a club line. I know that the local select league has a rule that indicates club lines are not to be paid. Further, I was told that there is a FIFA directive that says under no circumstances can a club line be paid. The 10 year old boy was the ONLY person to volunteer.

I gave him $10 for his time (he did a nice job and his mom had come over to my side following the game rather irate that her daughter’s team had paid big $$$ only to have to have her son “work” the game).

My question: Is there anything illegal about offering compensation to a club line?

My second question: Could we have legally used a two-man (I HATE IT, just for the record) system for a USSF-sanctioned tournament?

USSF answer (May 3, 2010):
We are unaware of any rules anywhere in the world that prohibit paying club linesmen (as they are called, whether male or female); however, while it would be unusual to do so, there is no reason not to give someone who has sacrificed his or her body for the cause a bit of compensation.

As to the dual system of control (“two-man system”), it is forbidden by the Laws of the Game, which require a referee and two assistants, but will allow two club linesmen. In fact, probably at least 90 percent of games played throughout the world are run with one referee and two club linesmen. Nevertheless, some leagues or tournaments run their games with two officials — and sometimes even they are not affiliated with USSF. It is up to the state associations to police these matters.

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