Lightning, Severe Weather and Air Quality


When the Thunder Roars

The safety of players, coaches, management and spectators is the primary concern in any weather event that occurs during all matches sanctioned by the BSA. By understanding and following the information below, the safety of everyone shall be greatly increased. Ultimately the referee has the final say over delaying or restarting a match due to weather. Waiting to stop play or not waiting to start play may result in a serious injury or loss of life.

Click here to read the full policy on Lightning. If you hear thunder get to shelter. Do not stay on the field or out in the open.

Now that we have experienced some severe weather in the province, we have received a few questions which we will answer here.

  • If I see lightning, but do not hear any thunder, should I suspend the game for 30 minutes just to be safe?

You probably do not need to suspend your game, at least not yet! In our part of the country, lightning can be seen for a long distance, and depending on the speed and direction of the storm may not be any danger at your location. However, if you see lightning that is obviously very close to your location, or the Canada Lightning Danger Map shows lightning that is obviously in your area, then you should suspend your game for at least 30 minutes.

  • Why does the policy only mention thunder for suspending a game, but also mentions lightning when talking about when games can resume?

If you have suspended for thunder, there is always lightning in the area, and to be safe games should not be resumed until 30 minutes after either thunder or lightning has been observed.

  • What should I do if I suspend my game for thunder but other games at the same location continue?

The safety of your participants and yourself comes first, but if you can alert the other referee to the fact that you are suspending for thunder without putting yourself in danger, please do so.

  • What do I do if the other referee refuses to suspend their game?

At that point there is not much that you can do, except ensure that your participants are advised to take shelter and take shelter yourself. Please consider reporting this referee to Alberta Soccer, as refusing to suspend a game for thunder is a serious matter and if proven will result in discipline against the official involved.

  • What do I do if other fields suspend their games, but I have not heard any thunder?

You should also suspend your game, and follow them to safe shelter to at least discuss the situation. Ensure that your participants also seek shelter at this time. Ask the other referee if they heard thunder.

  • What do I do if the participants in my game stay out on the field and practice during the suspension?

Once you have suspended the game and advised them to take shelter, your main concern is getting yourself to safety. You could try a comment such as “Lightning doesn’t know the difference between a practice and a game” to persuade them, but in the end it is their choice.

  • What if the coach tries to persuade me to ‘get the game in’ as they have already had to reschedule several games?

There is NO POSSIBLE REASON for continuing games when thunder is heard. You might mention that games are still easier to schedule than funerals.

  • What do I do if the game cannot be resumed?

Ensure that the reason for the game not resuming is written clearly on the game sheets, and submitted to the appropriate league as per their normal game sheet procedures. You may also follow up with an email or phone call to your assignor so that they can track this for payment purposes.

  • What if I have questions that have not been answered here?
  • Please do not hesitate to contact –refs@albertasoccer.comor phone 780-378-8110



Air Quality

Air Quality

Poor Air Quality Guidelines

The Alberta Soccer Association has set out a series of guidelines for air quality assessment to determine when it is no longer safe to play soccer due to health concerns. These guideline directive can be found here.