Here’s a question for you. What is the economic impact of a turned back referee assignment? It’s more than you think.

As you all know or soon will, I constantly harangue referees about the need for accurate Arbiter calendars because it really matters. My pleas are often ignored. I have been scoffed at and ridiculed for the constant reminders about a seemingly “unimportant” matter. Referees think, “What’s the big deal if I turn back my assignment? There’s always another referee willing to pick up the game.” What happens though when we run out of referees and another referee isn’t available or willing to step in? Let’s examine a day from a past season, play with the number and see if there is a potential economic impact.

This particular day was a non-tournament Saturday with expected good weather. Over 100 assignments were turned back for this day. I’ll ignore the AR assignments and focus on just the 24 turned back centers that couldn’t be filled. Yes, those numbers represent a significant inconvenience to me as well as a loss of income. However, my loss of pay, wasted time and inconvenience is trivial compared to the potential impact on the teams playing in those 24 games.

Most, but not all of the turned back assignments were for younger age teams. Based on that we will assume a conservative average of 10 players per team. That’s 480 players. Most teams have at least two coaches. That’s an additional 96 people. Again trying to be conservative, we will assume two parents per player, but won’t count any siblings. Parent total would be 960. While the referees turning back the game may think they are inconveniencing only me, in fact, they are potentially impacting over 1,500 people.

Let’s look at this from a different angle. Again we will make some assumptions. Each family has to drive to the game. Perhaps it’s 10 miles each way or a total of 20 miles round trip. That’s a collective total of 9,600 miles driven. I don’t pretend to know the actual average mileage, so this is just an example. The IRS standard mileage deduction this year is 58 cents per mile. Doing some quick math, 9,600 x $.58 = $5,568 in transportation costs. Now, how much did that family spend at the snack bar or for a meal? Maybe nothing. Maybe $30. Split the difference and we have an additional $7,200 in food costs.

Food and transportation costs come to about $532 per turnback. We haven’t even counted the value of lost time or lost income for those who may have taken time off work to attend the game.

The actual numbers aren’t really important. What is important is the realization that calendar neglect has a significant impact on our local soccer community.

Still think having an accurate Arbiter calendar doesn’t matter?