General Conditions For Declaring A Field Unplayable Are:

  • Field conditions constitute a danger for the players.
  • Conditions exist so that a proper game of soccer cannot be played.
  • Playing on the field may cause significant damage to it.

A field may be declared unplayable by the referee, a club official or a representative of the town/city or school district whose field it is.  If you, the referee feels the field is not playable DO NOT referee  the game.  Safety is paramount.

Coaches DO NOT decide whether the game will be played or not, the referee does, for safety reasons, so do not state in your report that the coaches decided not to play!  If both teams decline to play but you do not have a valid reason to cancel the game, both teams will be awarded a forfeit.  Games MUST be played unless the referee has a valid reason to cancel the game.

The referee may declare a field unplayable for the following reasons:

Water-based Situations

  • A substantial part of the field (20% of field or a key area such as penalty area) is covered with water so that the ball will not roll or bounce, or is so soft that a ball will not bounce to knee height when dropped.
  • Footing is slippery so that the ground will not support a sharp turn or could give way when a strong kick is made.

Dangerous Field Conditions

  • Debris on ground, e.g., large amounts of broken glass and/or rocks on the ground which would constitute a hazard to players if they fell.
  • Holes, burrows or very rough surface; a field with holes which are large and deep enough so that if stepped into could cause injury. The number, depth and size of the holes should be the determining factor in deciding if a field is playable.

Inadequate Marking Or Goals

  • Markings are not visible at all or are so faint that they cannot be seen to make a proper call.
  • Standard markings are missing such as penalty area and center circle.
  • Grass is so high that the ball will not roll, or the field markings cannot be seen.
  • Goalposts are not up or have no nets, or nets are in such poor condition that a ball goes right through.
  • Goalposts that cannot be secured so that tipping over are a potential hazard. If goals are not anchored or counter weighted, the referee should tell the home club to do so prior to starting the game. If the home team/club can not fix the problem, officials are NOT to play the game, and write up the report accordingly.
    Some options to satisfactorily secure the posts are sandbags, anchoring spikes driven into the ground, tying to a stationary anchoring point, or holding down with heavy objects.
  • Game may be played without corner flags (use bags or other “marker” and include in your game report).

The Referee should allow a reasonable amount of time to remedy the situations so that the game may be played. 

 If you cancel the game and would like to be paid

File a report with the WYSL at the WYSL website.  Make sure your report includes WHY the game was cancelled, weather related, field conditions, misconduct, teams not showing up, etc.