Ticats GM asking for American Referees.......



CFL should recruit American referees, says Ticat GM

Ken Peters
The Hamilton Spectator
(Jul 25, 2007)

The Canadian Football League should consider recruiting Americans to improve its officiating says Hamilton Tiger-Cat GM Marcel Desjardins.

"I think it is absolutely something they need to look at," said Desjardins, who has watched his 0-4 team become the most penalized in the league.

The Hamilton GM has been on the phone weekly to the league office complaining his team has been flagged 52 times for 514 yards in its first four games. Both are league highs.

While he won't comment directly on the quality of refereeing his club is receiving, the Cat GM admits he isn't happy with the number and type of calls that are going against his team.

The Cat GM acknowledges the league has spent a lot of money to develop Canadian referees.

"But until that talent pool is deep enough to be able to bring those guys to the CFL level, I think it is something we at least have to look at. I'm not saying it has to be done, but we at least have to look at it to see if it is feasible and if it can make our product better. At the end of the day that's what matters."

Desjardins notes that when the CFL opted to expand to the U.S. back in the mid-1990s, American officials were hired. And he suggested by opening up CFL officiating jobs to applicants south of the border the league could take advantage of a huge talent pool, including those who have refereed at the U.S. college level.

While CFL bylaws don't rule out Americans, spokesman Jamie Dykstra said the league focuses on this side of the border. Kevin McDonald, the league's director of football operations and development, responded to Desjardins in a statement.

"We would welcome any qualified individuals who wish to be a part of our game. We are extremely confident in the quality level of our officiating staff and the comprehensive recruitment, training and development programs we have in place."


Sure there's been the odd bad call, (one very costly) but for the most part we need players who don't take so many stupid penalties.

The penalty problem lies mainly with the Tiger-Cats and not the referees.

a Mix of Canadian and US referees
may Improve the Kinds of calls getting made.

The ticats have taken a lot of penalties, but sadly, most of them were warranted. Yes, there were some exceptions, but team discipline remains the most important priority for the ticats. Eliminate the penalties and the team improves by 50%.

As for American officials, one disadvantage is that they probably have not followed much CFL, and they will have to learn a totally different game. However, this shouldn't be too difficult for well trained professionals.

This could also be an advantage for the Americans. Since they probably haven't followed much CFL, they won't have a specific team as a personal favourite. The Americans should be completely unbiased.

I agree that the CFL needs to improve its officiating (which sports league doesn't, though?).

But, hiring a bunch of American officials would pose a challenge, too. After all, we see how many American players are slow to learn the nuanaces of the Canadian game. Wouldn't American refs be in the same boat?

One way to grow "pool" so to speak is to allow CIS officials to call CFL games, as well.

I say just bring in some younger refs that can see. There are a few who have been around longer than Lancaster.

Most refs are more opt to throw a flag on teams that are known for lots of them. When they expect a penalty the borderline plays (say when both DB and WR/SB are fighting for the ball) get flagged more often.

The Cats can fix 99% of the problem with in themselves. I think Marcel is just frustrated and looking for someone to blame and vent at.

I agree with the idea of looking everywhere to improve officiating. While CFL officiating is not as bad as some of our critics would have you believe, it can always be made better. We do have to keep improving everything about our product, and officiating is an important one.

As to the one-sided number of penalties against the 'Cats: we are studying this issue closely. In any game the refs have to decide which action is a minor breach of the rules and not worthy of a flag and which is a major breach when they should throw a flag.

We will continue to monitor the refereeing to ensure the refs call our opponents for the same number of minor breaches as they are calling on us.

Of course it is hard for us to complain publicly, as it will sound too much like blaming the refs for our losses.

Cheers, Bob.

Personally, I agree with our GM on a few levels but I'm wondering if the better question to the CFL should be ......what about making a CFL referee a well paying, full time job so they can attract former CFL players who already have a real understanding of the game. It was interesting to see Matt Dunigan recently start down that road.

Perhaps the CIS and the CFL can join together to have one pool of referees.....

....but then the argument becomes, what about the long off-season where there is no work in Canada.....maybe the relatively short season hurts the talent pool unlike hockey and baseball and basketball?....

Edit to clarify:....."short season" meaning small number of games due to an 18 game scedule and only 8 teams in the league so the actual games needing referees is very low compared to other sports.

Therein lies the problem. That is what isn't happening right now. Everyone knows that there are certain things that are technically a penalty, but they are so minor that they are let go. I don't think we're getting the benefit of that. A prime example is the offside call where our lineman's hand was about 2 fingers offside. I found that to be absolutely ridiculous. That was one of the things that a ref with any sense would have let go since it had zero effect on the play.

I've made my share of comments about the refs being inept, but I'm not one to say we lost because of the refs very often. I truly believe that we lost that BC game as a direct result of 2 (or 3) absolutely BRUTAL calls by the officials. That is so frustrating.

I don't care whether they are Canadian or American or Martian, they just need to be better.

American referees? Marcel is out to lunch on this one. What an embarassment to the CFL.
Its the American PLAYERS who are causing most of these stupid penalties from what what I can see.
Shame on all of you who support the idea.
If you like American referees…its just a short ride to Rich stadium in Buffalo.

Our G.M. may be the stupidest man alive.I cannot believe on a team having trobules with penalties you call out the refs and query thier ability.Perhaps we need an American G.M. like tillman or mohns or adam rita who win and not acrybaby.SUCK IT UP AND JUST WIN.

I disagree with this one. That's a black and white call, especially on the goal line where it's even more obvious, and it has to be made. It should also be very easy to avoid. There's a big fat yellow line on the field. Don't put your hand past it.

It's the judgement calls like holding, interference, and the occasional unnecessary roughness (ie: spearing) that could be improved.

Well if you have a large American talent pool of referees and it can increase the quality of calls on the field I would be in favor. That is with the notion of increasing your programs to develop Canadian referees.

Yes and let's allow American players to compete against Canadian players.
NO MORE CANADIAN CONTENT -let's see the best players at every position.

I still think that most officiating problems could be solved if you have an off-field official monitoring the game in front of several tv’s, viewing every play from every angle.

If he sees a major blown call, he can radio an on-field official to have it over-ruled.

I don't care if we have an entire officiating crew from Timbuktu if it improves the quality and consistency of CFL officiating.



Travel expenses from Timbuktu could be a bit high.
Have you considered other options such as better training IF there is a problem with the CFL refereeing? :roll:

Maybe to compensate for bad calls, the head coach should be allowed on the field to get in the official's face and kick rubber pellets at him.....I mean, really, all through history, some of the best moments in sports have been when managers (Billy Martin) or participants (John McEnroe, George Brett) blow gaskets on the playing surface at the refs.

It's alweays been a source of great entertainment in my opinion.......and satisfying to some degree to the fans :lol: