Southern Pacific Zone
   of USA Water Polo 

Event Host Procedures & Event Documents 

SOPAC Zone Procedures for Sanctioning and Assigning Referees for Tournaments and Events


Effective January 1, 2015

The following provides a step-by-step overview of the process to sanction a game, league or tournament and obtain referees for that event.

SOPAC ZONE PROCEDURES for Sanctioning and Assigning Referees Document

1.  Request Zone Approval for an Event

a.   Tournament hosts should submit their sanction requests by completing a “Request to Host” form found on the Zone website by December 15 for events held in the following year." The information requested includes the age group(s), date, location and number of courses. The Zone will review all available requests and evaluate those requests with the intent to approve all events that we can and adjust events as appropriate. The initial list of events will be reviewed and decided upon at the Annual Meeting in December.

b.    All Requests After December 15 will be reviewed on an “as available” basis.

c.    Once reviewed, the Zone will notify the tournament host that their event is either approved or not and if approved, direct the host to obtain a USAWP sanction. The approval is for a specific number of courses only as requested. A host is not allowed to increase the number of courses (e.g. size of the event) without prior approval.

2.  Submit Sanction Request to USAWP

Once the request has been approved by the Zone, the Host should submit their sanction request to USAWP. This is done online at the USAWP Website. Sanction fees vary based on how far in advance the sanction is submitted. The intent is to encourage our Hosts to plan their events as far in the future as possible. Once the sanction request is submitted, the Zone Chair will approve those sanctions that have been approved by the Zone.

3.  Submit Overall Footprint to SOPAC Zone Head Referee No Later than 7 Days Prior to Start of Event

a.  To obtain referees, the Host must submit their footprint to the Zone Referee Assignor no later than 7 days prior to the start of the tournament. There have been many issues and problems due to schedules coming in late or constant changes requiring multiple attempts to assign the tournament. The need to provide advance notice and minimize changes will assist in assigning the correct referees to the events and obtaining the correct number of referees in advance. The schedule needs to include the dates, locations and hours of the event as well as number of games. While the names of the teams do not need to be complete, the basic footprint should be ready for the assignor to assign the games. As mentioned, the sanction approval is for a specific size of event. The Zone assignor will not assign more games than approved on the original request.

 b.    If the footprint is not to the assignor 7 days prior to the start of the event, a late fee of $2/game maybe assessed.  If a Host makes last minute or  multiple  changes  to  the  schedule  once  assigned,  a  change  fee  of $5/change may be charged to the Host. Reasons outside of the hosts control such as pools going down will not be charged a change fee. However, voluntary changes such as allowing last minute entries that result in changes to the schedule are subject to such a fee. If a host makes a request to increase the number of games beyond the approved number, the assignor will coordinate with the Zone in an attempt to fill such request. However, there is no guarantee that such a request can be made. If the assignor uses a referee(s) outside of our zone to fulfill the request, the host will be charged for the travel expenses of the outside referees.

c.   The Assignor will submit the referee schedule to the Host and confirm the referee availability.

4. Reimburse USAWP Referee Association for Referee Services

At the completion of the event, the assignor will submit an invoice to the Host for the referees that worked the event, any change fee and travel expenses. Payment shall be due and payable per the payment policy that has been previously developed by the Zone (Attached). Beginning in 2015, the Zone ODP Referee will be responsible for processing payments that are submitted.

5.  Supplemental Rules for Large Events

There is really no different between small events and large ones with respect to availability of officials. For instance, an event with 4 courses on weekend X may be harder to fill than a 20- course event on weekend Y, depending on referee availability. Especially since Covid it has become necessary to bring in referees from outside the zone more often than not. While we do historically know the busiest two weekends of the year, an event host must be willing to lodge (and possibly travel) out of area referees in order to cover the games regardless of the size of the event. An event host must work closely with the zone chair and assignor in advance to timely sanction and evaluate any given weekend regarding the degree of difficulty to assign so that all entities can solicit and plan to properly grow the referee pool if necessary, so that the assignor can properly cover the games for all events on a given weekend.

Therefore, in addition to the timeline above in 3b, the host and assignor must work together to ensure a large enough referee pool, that may include lodging and travel, regardless of the size of the event.

For larger events or busier weekends, as there are so many more moving parts, the ideal time to assign seems to be 4 to 5 days out, as history has shown that with so many moving parts such as venue issues and changing referee availability to mention a couple, to assign earlier than that has shown to necessitate numerous changes.

Understandably, our timeline for 2022 is off due to Covid, as all events should be in the zone calendar on December 15 of the prior year. This along with USAWP launching their new web-based system has seen events popping up with shorter notice that usual as we catch up, even legacy events running for over 15 years. Only by working together: the zone chair, the assignors, and the event hosts, may we be able to offer the best experience for the athletes and referees so that they continue to develop within a positive environment.


Referee Payment Policy

Payment Timelines:

A tournament host, once in possession of the final invoice of all payments and fees, does have the responsibility to pay the amount due in full. The host shall have up to 21 (calendar) days to complete this action. This payment can be made by individual payments to all parties involved or paid to any 3rd party entity given the responsibility to make such individualized payment such as ArbiterPay. It shall be the host of the tournaments responsibility to ensure the payments are received on time and in good standings. Insufficient funding, method of delivery and other delays that may occur are the responsibility of the host organization.

Penalties for Late Payment:

It shall be deemed financially negligent for any club or institution to pay for services rendered more than 21 (calendar) days after receiving an invoice for the tournament or games played. Unpaid invoices that are more than 21 days late, shall receive a revocation of all current hosting activity in the So Pac Zone. This will be until the entire invoice payments have been received and all unpaid parties named in the invoice are made whole. All invoices are due and payable within 21 days of receipt of invoice.

All invoices not paid within 21 days shall result in:

Revoking of all sanctions currently being held by that host until paid in full

A 25% penalty shall be applied for all invoices > 30 days. If unpaid after the initial 30 days, an additional 25% shall be added each month to the unpaid balance until paid in full.

Definition of late fees:

If the invoice becomes delinquent for more than 30 (calendar) days, the host institution shall receive an additional 25% invoice fee that shall be added to all referees fees and assignor fees that are not paid. For each additional 30 (calendar) days, a 25% invoice fee per time period penalty shall apply until the adjusted debt is paid in full. (Example; ref1 is owed $100.00 for game fees, if he/she is not paid within 30 calendar days, the adjusted invoice should be for $125.00 if this is paid within 60 days but after 30 days. If the invoice is not paid within 60 days, then the invoice shall read $150.00 if it is paid before 90 days but after 60 days, and so on.)


There may be an occasion where there is an uncertainty about an invoice. This on its face does not stop any calendar day’s activities, but it should be discussed openly and fairly for both parties (host and assignors/head referees) to agree on the amount of the invoice. There shall be up to 5 calendar days to discuss any discrepancy and 5 calendar days to mutually agree on them or come to resolution on the situation. This would still allow 10 calendar days for payment processing and instill proper payment actions of any host institution. If at the end of the 10 calendar days of discussions, the 2 parties (host and assignors/head referees) do not agree on the invoice, then the next step is to involved the Southern Pacific Head Referee. If there is a dispute in any invoice, the undisputed portion shall be paid immediately and the disputed amount and the basis for the dispute presented to the Southern Pacific Zone Head Referee. If the dispute cannot be resolved within 14 days, the matter shall be presented to the SoPac Board whose determination shall be final. Any penalties issued by the current standing policies shall be enforced unless approval by the BOD is given. A host should not be liable for any errors committed by any required 3rd party payer (RefPay, and the like). This should be on a case by case basis.

EVENT DOCUMENTS (Note Use the USA Water Polo Documents for all USAWP Sanctioned Events in Southern Pacific:


USA Water Polo: Score Table Manual | Foul Record | Foul Board | Score Sheet | Penalty Shootout Declaration | Penalty Shootout | USAWP Admission Poster | USAWP Event Checklist | Non-national Event Roster Verification


NCAA (Collegiate): Score Table Manual | Foul Record | Foul Board | Score Sheet (19) | Score Sheet (22)

NFHS (High School): Score Table Manual | Foul Record | Foul Board | Score Sheet (19) | Score Sheet (22)

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