Purple Shirt Program


The Newfoundland and Labrador Soccer Association has launched the PURPLE SHIRT CAMPAIGN to address issues of abuse of new referees. Referee retention is an issue, many quit refereeing due to abuse from players/coaches/spectators, etc.

Campaign Rational

The NLSA Purple Shirt Respect Campaign will be implemented for the 2023 Season to address the issue of referee abuse, specifically new referees who are still learning the role. New officials are highly impressionable and sensitive to all forms of dissent. For many who choose not to continue refereeing, it is because of one or two incidents where they faced mistreatment from players, coaches, or spectators.

The Purple Shirt Respect Campaign will aim to curb this mistreatment and make refereeing soccer in Newfoundland and Labrador a more welcoming atmosphere for all who take on this role.

Significance of the Purple Shirt

The Purple Shirt worn by new referees signifies to teams and spectators that this referee is new to officiating and should be treated with the UTMOST respect and encouragement while officiating matches. Mistreatment of new officials will result in suspensions and fines. Referees wearing the purple shirt will have the power to end any game where they feel they are being mistreated or abused. A Purple Shirt(s) will also be worn by officials who may be doing a game at a higher level of play for the first time.

Campaign Outline - Rights of Referees

  • New referees will wear a Purple Shirt while Refereeing soccer in Newfoundland and Labrador
  • New Referees will be given their Purple Shirts at the start of the 2023 Referee season.
  • The NLSA will circulate info to all leagues and members regarding the program.
  • Referees wearing the purple shirt will have the power to end any game where they feel they are being mistreated or abused.
  • The NLSA will ask new referees to report any mistreatment to the NLSA Judicial Chair.
  • The NLSA Judicial Committee will then discipline any teams or individuals found to have abused an official.

Purple Shirt Campaign Discipline

Violators of the Purple Shirt Campaign will be subject to the NLSA Disciplinary Code and can face suspension and or fines depending on the severity of their abuse against the NLSA official.

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