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New OSI Referee Uniform Frequently Asked Questions


CHICAGO (January 18, 2008) - For several years now, U.S. Soccer and Official Sports International, its referee uniform supplier have been receiving feedback that it was time for a “fresh” uniform design and more color choices. The international standard for new design and colors revolves around the World Cup and is every four years, but there are a number of countries that introduce new designs each year. Given that the current referee uniform design for the U.S. had not been changed in 10 years, and no new colors had been added in 5 years, we felt the time was appropriate for an update in the options available to our referees. After consultation with OSI, they designed a new uniform and suggested a new color.

We then presented the new design and color to the U.S. Soccer Board for final approval. The new color choice was added to the list in the “Standards of Dress and Appearance” section of the U.S. Soccer Referee Administrative Handbook, and the new design was debuted at MLS Cup 2007.

As the new uniform design enters the market, U.S. Soccer has received a few questions regarding the new uniform and color, and thus we have generated the below list of answers to some frequently asked questions. We hope this information is helpful. Should you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us at referee@ussoccer.org.

Does my State Referee Committee and/or the State Association have to approve or adopt the new referee uniform?

No. As the national governing body of the sport, the U.S. Soccer Board of Directors is solely empowered by FIFA to make these types of changes. State Referee Committees and/or State Associations may not decide to “opt out” and/or not adopt the change. This is a change that is made for the all U.S. Soccer Referees across the country.

Do I have to throw out all of my referee jerseys and buy new ones?

No. The previous jersey design is perfectly acceptable. You should not feel obligated to discard these still-approved referee jerseys in order to purchase the new design. Purchases of the new uniform may be made when you need a new jersey or you want to add an additional color. This is also true for the socks.

What if I show up to a game and I have a referee jersey that is the previous design and the referee, or referees, I am working with has a referee jersey that is the new design?

You may all work the game in the jerseys you have. It is acceptable if one or two referees have the previous design and the others have the new design. It is more important that they be the same color. A referee assessor may not deduct points for a crew that has mismatched uniform designs, provided that the uniforms feature approved designs and are the same color.

Will there come a time when the new jersey design will be the only design that will be recognized by U.S. Soccer?

There is no date set, and no plans to set a date, by which the old jerseys will be “phased out.” To be clear, both the old and new designs comply with the “Standards of Dress and Appearance” listed in the referee administrative handbook – the only differences are aesthetic. For the old jerseys to be phased out, it would require a change to these Standards, and U.S. Soccer would not make such a change without providing a fair amount of lead time to the entire referee community. It should be noted, however, that OSI has ceased manufacturing the previous design.

Will the new design be the only design accepted at USYS or USASA regional and national competitions?

No. Again, the parameters for referee uniforms are set by U.S. Soccer and approved by its Board. Both the old and new design meet the standards set by U.S. Soccer, and its organizational members have a responsibility to recognize those standards.

I noticed that the referee crews on professional games and on some international games are wearing referee jerseys that are different than what has been approved for U.S. Soccer referees. Does this affect me in any way?

No. For professional games in the United States, the leagues may have sponsor commitments that require a different manufacturer to produce the uniforms, but the uniform itself must still comply with the basic standards set by U.S. Soccer. These new styles or designs should have no bearing on the standard uniform otherwise worn by U.S. Soccer referees. For international games, referees from other countries wear FIFA referee uniforms or uniforms approved by their home federation. If U.S. Soccer referees work an international game, they will wear the approved OSI uniform.
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