How can a referee determine what is the most current standard for a particular topic, given that there is a mound of reference material on the USSF website? Are we to rely on the most recent “Advice to Referees” as being the final word on every topic, or do we also need to search through historical memos, directives, etc?

The current USSF website has numerous memos that date back many years, some of which are duplicative (ie, 2004 Advice, 2005 Advice, etc).

For example, is it necessary to read the 2007 Law Changes Memorandum or are these law changes incorporated into the 09-10 Advice? Where there are conflicts, which document prevails?

Second but related topic, which is organization of the ussoccer.com webpages for referees. Why isn’t there one page that is kept current and represents the current definitive body of laws, directives, advices, etc. As of this date, the laws are on one page, along with a long list of documents, and the advice is on another page. This is confusing. It would be better to have a section called “Current Laws and Interpretations” which contains the FIFA LOTG, the Advice, and any of the historical memos which aren’t incorporated in the Advice that still apply. There should be another page titled “Historical Documents” that contain all other documents, with language that these have been supplanted by more current interpretations.


USSF answer (November 16, 2009):
Your suggestion for improving the utility of the webpages has been passed along to the appropriate people. Thank you.

As to which document “trumps” the others, this excerpt from the Introduction to the Advice to Referees should prove helpful to you:

This book of Advice to Referees is specifically intended to give USSF referees, assistant referees and fourth officials a reliable compilation of those international and national guidelines remaining in force, as modified or updated. It is not a replacement for the Laws of the Game, nor is it a “how to” book on refereeing: It is an official statement of Federation interpretations of the Laws. However, the referee, coach, player, team official and spectator should remember that there are also other sources of information:

* the Laws of the Game, published annually by USSF from the text provided by the IFAB through FIFA;

* the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game and Guidelines for Referees, which replace the former Questions and Answers;

* annual FIFA Circulars, as republished in designated USSF annual Memoranda;

* USSF Referee Program Directives, the Week in Review, and podcasts;

* the USSF Guide to Procedures for Referees, Assistant Referees and Fourth Officials;

* entry-level referee clinics, in-service clinics and referee recertification clinics taught by USSF instructors;

* other official publications from the USSF instructional program, including articles in Fair Play and specific subject memoranda (position papers).

In general, one can say that the 2008/2009 and earlier editions of the Advice is nice for historical purposes, but are no longer applicable in many situations. The same is true of the older memoranda and Laws of the Game. They are all included in the collection because many referees, instructors, and assessors like to be able to follow the history and development of the Laws and their interpretation. In all cases, the most recent document (on the particular topic) in any of these series is the one with the current information. The Advice is kept as much up to date as possible, including all documents published in the period since the last revision, but any document is “outdated” the moment the ink hits the paper. This means that the reader should look to the Advice plus all recent memos (with the latter eventually to be incorporated into the next revision).

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