Never assume a match will be canceled. Matches are frequently played in bad weather. The first responsibility for determining whether or not a match will be played rests with the Prince William Park Authority.
We typically are the first to check field conditions, update the weather page, and if matches are canceled, we change the status of the game from normal to rainout in theArbiter. This automatically generates an email message to the assigned referees alerting them that the game has been rained out.
If the information isn’t posted call the following numbers for a recorded message:
Chinn Park -- (Stadium/Lake Ridge) 703.792.3291
Fred Lynn MS -- PWSI governs this field closure
Howison -- (Independent Hill) 703.792.3283
Tyrrell -- (Woodbridge) 703.792.3285
The message is to be updated at 7:00 am on Saturday & Sunday. Listen carefully to the message as it will begin with "Today is _____ and the time is ____." If you act on a message that is clearly intended for the wrong date then you will be held responsible for missed assignments.
Even though the message may say that it will be updated again at noon, once the fields are closed, even if the park authority opens the fields later in the day, all PWSI matches are canceled and referees are released from their assignments.
If you arrive at a field that the Park Authority has not closed, the decision whether to play or continue a match rests with the referee.
Only the Referee may stop or terminate a match once started due to inclement weather or impaired field conditions, unless, of course, the Park Authority shows up and declares the fields closes immediately.
Examples of weather bad enough to stop or terminate a match include:
• Severe weather such as tornado, hail, lightning either present or approaching;
• Falling snow with freezing and dropping temperature;
• Falling sleet or ice and any temperature;
• Darkness such that the ball cannot be properly followed with the eye;
• Rain or fog so heavy you cannot see the goal from the halfway line;
• Driving rain that makes running into it hard, almost painful;
• Strong wind that makes running into it almost impossible.
The first four examples probably call for immediate match termination. The others can be “waited out.”
There is no time limit on waiting for a restart. Common sense rules. Do not give up too quickly, but do not wait so long that any succeeding matches may be unduly delayed in starting.
Remember also that, even though the weather may clear and the skies may turn blue and sunny, the field conditions may have been severely impaired. Before trying to restart, check to make sure the field is safe for play. One rule of thumb is if half or more of the field is underwater, it is unsafe. If you don’t feel safe running up and down the field, don’t ask the players to do so.
If you are on an all-weather surface field, you can wait it out because of their quick draining capabilities.
If you elect to terminate the match, be sure to write an explanation on the Match report. This should be short and to the point (as “heavy rain,” “lightning at the field,” “field made unsafe by heavy rains” or similar), and must include the point of termination (as “5 minutes into the second half” or similar). Be concise and precise.
Referees do not determine forfeits or reschedules. This is the responsibility of the playing association, but they will rely heavily on the information recorded on the Match Report.
Don’t let anyone talk you into or out of terminating a match. Your responsibility is to the safety of the players, not the inconvenience of the coaches or parents.
USSF Memo Dealing with Severe Weather