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2012 Major League Soccer Reserve League Handbook

1. COMPETITION.  Each MLS Club shall field a Reserve Team to participate in MLS Reserve League Games over the course of the season.  Individual Team standings shall be maintained over the course of the Reserve League Season on a Regional basis.  MLS Reserve Teams may also participate in additional exhibition games or scrimmages that do not count in the standings.  MLS Reserve League Teams shall be precluded from participation in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Games.  Each MLS Reserve Team Game shall be played according to the rules of FIFA, the United States Soccer Federation, the Canadian Soccer Association, and Major League Soccer.Each MLS Reserve League Game shall be played in accordance with the most recent edition of the FIFA Laws of the Game, "Guide for Referees - USSF", and any rules of competition established by MLS and approved by the USSF, CSA, and FIFA.
1.1 MLS RESERVE LEAGUE SEASON GAME.  MLS Reserve League Season Games, which count in the standings, comprise the MLS Reserve League Season.  The League ultimately finalizes and distributes the official MLS Reserve League Schedule.  Unless the Home Team elects to do so otherwise, MLS Reserve League Season Games are not promoted, produce no gate receipts, and are played behind "closed doors."  It is the responsibility of the Home Team to notify the League if it plans to open a game to the public and ensure that all security, insurance and other relevant issues pursuant to the MLS Game Operations Manual are satisfactorily addressed.  Any Game where tickets are sold requires the submission of an MLS Game Settlement to the League.  The League shall receive such notice of any non-closed door games (see Section 1.1.1) from the Home Team at least TWENTY-ONE (21) days prior to the game. 
  • Reserve League games will be played on a list of League-approved field locations (with all Clubs making good faith efforts to schedule at least two (2) games in their stadium).
1.1.1 Exhibition Game.  Any game between two MLS Clubs or between an MLS Club and a non-MLS Club, which is promoted and generates revenue is classified as an exhibition game.  All exhibition games require League approval at least TWENTY-ONE (21) days prior to the game.  The Home Team shall be required to submit a game settlement to the League for any games where tickets are sold.
1.1.2 Practice Games.  A practice game (also known as a Scrimmage) is defined as any game between TWO (2) MLS Teams or a MLS Team and a non-MLS Team that is not promoted, produces no revenue, and is often played behind "closed doors."  Practice games require League notification and approval via the MLS Exhibition/Practice Game Notice at least ONE (1) week in advance.  MLS reserves the right to decide if U.S. Soccer will be requested to assign game officials.  Teams shall not attempt to secure officiating services outside of the local assignment coordinator or subvert the established fee schedule.
1.2 Player Eligibility.  All Players appearing on an MLS Club’s Official Roster may represent their team in MLS Reserve League play.  However, no Player shall play more than ONE HUNDRED TWENTY (120) minutes in a Reserve Team Match and any preceding match(es) that occur within a SIXTY (60) hour period.  Further, no Player shall play more than a combined total of NINETY (90) minutes in a Reserve Team Match and any preceding match(es) that occurred within THIRTY-SIX (36) hours prior to such Reserve Team Match. 
1.2.1 Reserve League Call-Up.  A Reserve League Call-Up or “Trialist Player” with an MLS Club may be eligible to appear in an MLS Reserve League Game provided that he is properly registered with US Soccer.  This requires the player signing a short-term contract (1-2 days) and our receipt of his International Transfer Clearance (ITC).  In order for this to occur, the League must confirm that the player is free to sign with MLS by receiving confirmation from his previous club (i.e., a copy of the player’s expired contract or a release letter from his previous club on such club’s letterhead). The MLS Club must also provide a curriculum vitae for each Trialist Player to the League at least three (3) business days prior to the Reserve League Game. A representative from the MLS Club must also certify that the Trialist Player is a bone fide professional soccer player.Each curriculum vitae must include the player’s (i) name, (ii) date of birth, (iii) citizenship, (iv) past clubs and/or college, (v) current club if applicable, and (vi) other information the Club feels is necessary and applicable given the facts and circumstances surrounding the trial.  There may be several issues to resolve (e.g., players may not be under contract with MLS without a P1 Visa, players may only be transferred once per year); therefore, it is very important that the League is given appropriate notice to allow enough time to work through these key issues. Trialist Players may participate in a maximum of two (2) Reserve League games per Club per season.
1.2.2 Academy Players.  Clubs may also use up to five (5) Academy Players per Reserve League Game. Academy players must appear in each Club’s Home Grown Protected list that is submitted to the League Office.  Academy players playing time in conjunction with Academy matches must be managed by the individual Clubs, keeping the best interest and benefit to the individual players’ development in mind.
1.2.3 Limit on Academy and Trialist Players.Clubs may play up to a maximum of five (5) non-MLS Roster players per Club per Reserve League Game.  Within the five (5) non-MLS Roster player limit, only three (3) players may be Trialist Players.
1.2.4 Game Preliminary Rosters.A Preliminary 10 Player Roster must be submitted to the League Office no later than THREE (3) business days prior to a Reserve League Game. The Preliminary Roster is a list of TEN (10) non-Roster Players (Trialist or Academy players) that a Club has available to play in a Reserve League Game. Clubs may then select FIVE (5) eligible non-Roster Players for a Reserve League Game from the previously submitted Preliminary Roster. Please note, the Preliminary Roster does not replace the Official Game Roster Form.
1.3 GAME PROTESTS.  The Commissioner or his desired representative will have the absolute authority to resolve any Game irregularities or disputes, and may reverse a result, require a replay, declare the Game forfeited, or take any other action he deems appropriate.  The Commissioner or his desired representative may take action or respond to a Game protest from a Club.  However, he will not entertain protests involving game officials’ judgment calls (e.g. yellow cards or send-offs) or other discretionary decisions (See “FIFA Laws of the Game,” Law 5) and will limit his actions to the most compelling of circumstances.  Fines or suspensions pursuant to an incident in the Game protest will reside in the first instance with the Disciplinary Committee.
1.3.1 Filing a Game Protest.  A Club wishing to file a game protest must do so by faxing to the League a MLS Game Protest Form (See Exhibit C), signed by the Club’s General Manager, to the League Office within forty-eight (48) hours following the end of the game in question.  The protest will require a filing fee of $2,500, which is forfeited if the protest is rejected.  The filing fee need not accompany the protest, but rather will be deducted from game reconciliations between the MLS Finance Department and the Club.
1.3.2 Protest Review.  The Commissioner or his desired representative will allow interested parties to present information (i.e. written reports, video, etc.) and may use any information at his disposal to render a decision.  He may convene a hearing via conference call or in person, but is not required to do so.  All parties will refrain from public comment regarding the Protest, the facts on which it is based and the final decision.
1.3.3 Commissioner's Decision.  The Commissioner's decision is final and not appealable.  He will make an effort to expedite a decision, but there is no time limit in which it must be rendered.  The Commissioner will issue a public statement at the time of his decision, and respond to the media and others as necessary.
1.4 GAME OFFICIAL FEES.  Game official fees, travel reimbursement, per diem, etc., are negotiated between MLS and USSF/CSA, and the PSRA and are not determined by Clubs.  Clubs will not attempt to subvert the established fees in any fashion.  Clubs will be notified accordingly by MLS prior to the start of each MLS preseason as to the fees for MLS Games.
Section 2
Field Regulations
2 FIELD REGULATIONS.  Each MLS Team will comply with field standards established by MLS.   
2.2 PLAYING FIELD DIMENSIONS AND MARKINGS.  The dimensions and markings of the field will conform to MLS standards and the FIFA Laws of the Game.  No logos on the field, goal nets or corner flags shall be allowed without prior League (and USSF/CSA where applicable) approval. 
2.3 CONDITION OF THE FIELD OF PLAY.  Each Club will ensure that the field is in the best possible condition for all Games.
2.4 FIELD AND GAME EQUIPMENT.  All field area and game equipment will be approved by MLS and provided by an Official League supplier/sponsor, if applicable.  Such equipment will be maintained by the Club and kept in top condition regarding safety and appearance.
2.4.1 Corner Flags, Midfield Line, and Center Circle.  Corner flags will be on posts not less than FIVE (5) feet high with non-pointed tops.  Corner flags will be supplied by the MLS official equipment supplier and will not have logos.  A midfield flag will be optional for placement on each side of the field, THREE (3) yards off the field.  The bench side midfield flag is optional for TV Games.  A midfield line will be marked across the center of the field.  The center of the field will be so marked and have a circle, which has a TEN (10) yard radius, drawn around it. 
2.4.2 Goal Area.  At each end of the field, lines perpendicular to the goal line will be drawn parallel to each other, on each side of the goal and SIX (6) yards from each goalpost.  These lines will extend SIX (6) yards into the field of play from the goal line.  A line running parallel to the goal line will be drawn connected to TWO (2) perpendicular lines forming the "goal area."
2.4.3 Penalty Area.   At each end of the field, lines perpendicular to the goal line will be drawn parallel to each side of the goal and EIGHTEEN (18) yards from each goalpost.  These lines will extend for EIGHTEEN (18) yards into the field of play from the goal line. A line running parallel to the goal line will be drawn to connect the two perpendicular lines thatwill form the "penalty area.”
A penalty mark will be made on the field in the penalty area. The mark will be placed at the end of an unmarked line that is perpendicular to the goal line and TWELVE (12) yards from the midpoint of the goal line.  Using the penalty mark as its center, an arc of a circle, which has a radius of TEN (10) yards, will be drawn outside the penalty area.
2.4.4 Corner Area.  At each of the four corners of the field, measuring from the corner flag post, an arc having a radius of ONE (1) yard will be drawn inside the field of play. 
2.4.5 Encroachment Mark.  A mark will be made off the field of play ELEVEN (11) yards from the corner flag (TEN (10) yards from the corner area) and at right angles to the goal line and sideline to help the Referee ensure that this distance is observed when a corner kick is taken.  These marks will be made outside of the field and shall not touch the lines marking the field.
2.4.6 Goals.  Each goal will be centered on the goal line and an equal distance on each side from the corner flags.  Game day goals will be the size approved by FIFA and Major League Soccer.  International style goals are strongly recommended. The specific style goal recommended is Kwik Goal’s Pro Premier World Competition Goal 2B8 with World Competition Net Frames 10B3301. The League-preferred portable goal is Kwik Goal’s Evolution 2.1 Goal 2B3406.
2.4.7 Bench AreasBoth the Home and Visiting Teambenches will be placed on the same side of the field, on each side of midfield.The Home Team will designate Team bench locations (Home and Visitors) at the start of the season and will not change these locations during the season without League approval.
2.4.8 Bench Shields.  Bench shields may be used to help protect Team personnel from inclement weather. 
2.4.9 Game Balls.  It is the home Team’s responsibility to furnish at least EIGHT (8) Official MLS Game Balls, which can be previously used game balls.  Inflated, each soccer ball shall weigh no more than SIXTEEN (16) ounces and no less than FOURTEEN (14) ounces.  All game balls must pass the referee’s pregame inspection. All game balls in the possession of game officials shall be returned to the Home Team after the game.
2.4.10 Nets and Field Logos.  No logos or text of any kind can be on or directly surrounding the field of play, including but not limited to, the goal nets, corner flags and the goal frame.
2.5 TEAM BENCHES.  Both bench areas will be equally prepared and equipped.  Only official Game Roster players will be in uniform.  All players on team benches will dress in team warm-ups.  Other bench personnel will dress professionally or in team warm-ups (not street clothes, jeans, etc.).  Suspended players and/or coaches may not sit on team benches.  Injured players may sit on team benches if dressed in team warm-ups.
2.6 FIELD SECURITY.  No one other than authorized personnel with the appropriate credential or authority will be allowed on the playing field or the surrounding area.
2.6.1 Entering the Field.  When beckoned by the referee, only a Team's Athletic Trainer and Team Physician shall enter the playing field to attend an injured player.  Coaches are not permitted to enter the field.
2.6.2 Approaching Game Officials.  Coaches, Assistant Coaches and other Team personnel will not enter the playing field to approach the Game Officials before, during, at halftime, or at the conclusion of any game.  Similarly, Team personnel will not confront game officials in the Locker Room, corridor, parking lots or any area surrounding the game officials' Locker Room. Game officials will report such behavior in the Competition Incident Report Form, which is subject to League disciplinary action.
2.7 HYDRATION POLICY. During the course of the game, especially in hot weather conditions, players are encouraged to consume sufficient fluids. (Although the term "water" is used below, the guidelines refer to all liquids provided at games for hydration.) Game officials, Athletic Trainers, and game staff will accommodate this pursuant to the following restrictions (refer to the MLS Medical Policies and Procedures Manual for further guidelines of proper hydration):
A.Players may proceed all the way to the touchline at any time, but will not leave the playing field to receive fluids from the bench.  However, water bottles, plastic water bags, etc. may not be thrown onto the playing field.
B.Goalkeepers may keep a plastic bottle in the back of the goal.
C.Water bottles may be placed around the perimeter of the playing field, outside the touchline and against the field boards, but not along that part of the touchline run by the Assistant Referees.
D.Given the potential for choking and misuse, Players shall not be allowed to enter the field with ice cubes.
E."Supersoakers," or any other similar water squirting items, are not permitted.
Refer to the MLS Medical Policies and Procedures Manual for further guidelines of proper hydration.
 Section 3
Locker Rooms
3 LOCKER ROOMS.  If Locker Rooms are utilized, the following provisions and regulations will apply.  If necessary, the Home Team will be responsible for ensuring that the Visiting Team has access to shower facilities in order to accommodate the Visiting Team’s travel schedule. 
3.1 ACCESS.  Only authorized Team staff, players, and select individuals are allowed in the Locker Rooms. The Team’s media relations staff will coordinate with the coaching staff regarding Locker Room media access.
3.1.2 Media Credentials.  Media Directors will assure that only credentialed, working media are allowed into Team Locker Rooms.  "Media" consists of the following categories of people who have proper credentials: writers, photographers, radio and television sportscasters and their crews - regardless of gender.
3.1.3 Special Access.  The League may grant certain groups (e.g. TV camera crews) special access to the Locker Room at any time for any game.  Teams will be notified in advance of such access and give special bibs or markings for the visiting group to wear.
3.2 LOCKER ROOM EQUITY. The Home Team will ensure that both Locker Rooms are comparable in size and amenities.  While it is not realistic that Home and Visiting Team Locker Rooms are equal in quality, the Visiting Team should not be exposed to a competitive disadvantage.  If an issue regarding Locker Room equity is expected, the League and Visiting Team will be notified no less than SEVEN (7) days prior in advance to reach a mutually agreeable solution.
3.3 LOCKER ROOM SECURITY. The Home Team will ensure that the doors to the Teams' and Game Officials' Locker Rooms can be locked during the game and that the facilities will be under the security protection throughout the game. 
3.3.1 Game Officials' Locker Room Security.  Access to the referee Locker Room will be limited to MLS Senior Management, USSF, and CSA personnel; and others, only with permission of the referee, i.e. Referee Liaison, Team Liaison.  Security will be posted outside the Locker Room door while the Game Officials are at the stadium.
Section 4
Visiting Team
4.2 TEAM TRAVEL POLICIES.  The Reserve League travel budget will pay for expenses as outlined in this section. The Reserve League travel budget will pay for a travel party of NINETEEN (19) people when a Reserve League game is scheduled as a stand-alone game.  When an MLS Reserve League game is scheduled in conjunction with a MLS Regular Season Game, the League will pay for a travel party of THIRTY-SIX (36) people.  TWENTY-FIVE (25) people will be coded to the MLS Team Travel budget and ELEVEN (11) people will be coded to the MLS Reserve League budget.
4.2.1 Visiting Team Airfare.  Only ATP Event Experts (formerly New Haven Travel) or Sportscorp Travel are approved to book Reserve League travel.  The Reserve League budget will cover a maximum of NINETEEN (19) flights for each Reserve League game when a Reserve League game is scheduled as a stand-alone Game and will cover a maximum of ELEVEN (11) flights when a MLS Reserve League game is scheduled in conjunction with a MLS Regular Season Game.
4.2.2 Visiting Team Hotel.  While the League will execute the initial contract with the Visiting Team hotels, it is the Visiting Team's responsibility to re-confirm room and meal needs directly with the hotel at least TEN (10) days in advance of the trip.   Regardless of whether the Reserve League Game is scheduled in conjunction with a League Season game or as a stand-alone game, the Reserve League budget will cover a maximum of TEN (10) total room nights for each Reserve League game and will only cover rooms for those in the budgeted team travel party.
4.2.3 Visiting Team Ground Transportation.  While the League will execute the initial contract with the Visiting Team ground transportation companies, it is the Visiting Team's responsibility to re-confirm transportation schedules with bus company at least TEN (10) days in advance of the trip.  The Reserve League budget will cover up to one airport pick-up in the away market, one EIGHT (8) hour bus charter for game day and one airport drop-off.
4.2.4 Visiting Team per Diem.  The Visiting Team will be responsible for paying per diem directly to players in accordance with the CBA.
Section 5
Game Officials
5  GAME OFFICIALS.  Game Officials for each MLS game will consist of the Referee, Senior Assistant Referee (AR1), Junior Assistant Referee (AR2), and Fourth Official.  A USSF/CSA In-Stadium Observer and/or a Referee Inspector will attend all Reserve League Games.  The League will notify Clubs of the Game Officials and In-Stadium Observer and/or Referee Inspector assignments at least three (3) days in advance of each League Season game by means of the MLS Game Notice, as shown inExhibit C,"MLS Game Notice." Additional guidelines for Game Officials are contained in the MLS Referee Handbook.
5.1 REFEREE.  The Referee will have general oversight and control of the game and will exercise the powers granted to him by the FIFA Laws of the Game.  The Referee's duties to start the game are outlined in Section 11.3 of this Manual.
5.2 ASSISTANT REFEREES.  Two (2)Assistant Referees will assist the Referee in controlling the game.  Upon their arrival at the stadium, the Assistant Refereeswill report to the Referee.  The Assistant Referees are defined as the Senior Assistant (bench side), or AR1, and the Junior Assistant (far side), or AR2.
5.3 FOURTH OFFICIAL.  If a Fourth Official is assigned, Fourth Official will assist with administrative duties, procedures for substitutions, and, if necessary, be responsible for the replacement of the game ball to eliminate unnecessary delays in the game. The Fourth Official will be situated at a table at midfield on the Team benches side of the field, between the two Team benches, approximately EIGHT (8) to TEN (10) feet outside the touchline.
Responsibilities of the Fourth Official are further outlined on the most recent FIFA Laws of the Game.
5.4 ROSTER COLLECTION.  Official Game Rosters shall be simultaneously submitted to the officiating crew by each team at the captain’s meeting at least THIRTY (30) minutes prior to the game.
5.5 UNIFORMS.  The Game Officials will wear a jersey that has a color distinctly different than the colors of the Teams’ field players and goalkeepers.  This jersey will be specified on the MLS Game Notice sent to both Teams, Game Officials, and home Referee Liaison prior to the match and posted in the Game Officials’ Locker Room.  The Game Officials will comply with the MLS Official Uniform policy
5.6 FIELD EQUIPMENT AND SAFETY CHECK.  Prior to kickoff, Game Officials will complete an inspection of the playing field and equipment, including the field itself, goals, netting, official game balls, corner flags, and field markings.  In the event any problem areas are identified, including loose or torn nets, out of place goals, improperly covered drainage, missing or incorrect markings, etc., the Referee will notify the Field Manager immediately.  The Field Manager will be responsible for promptly correcting any problems. However, every consideration and effort will be made to start the game as scheduled.
5.7 REFEREE GAME REPORT.  At the conclusion of the Game, the Referee will submit the Referee Game Report electronically.  The Referee will indicate the actual time of kick-off for the 1st and 2nd halves and the Game's end.  The Referee has a duty to report any rule violations or Game Day procedure comments on the Referee GameReport or Competition Incident Report forms.  The Home Team shall assure these forms are faxed to the League Office and U.S. Soccer.  
5.8 COMPETITION INCIDENT REPORT.  General Managers, Coaches, or other appropriate Club personnel, and Game Officials are requested to submit a Competition Incident Report form to report unusual, mishandled and other pertinent events to aid the League Office in assessments of referee performances. Such events should be described in detail within two (2) hours following the conclusion of the Game.  Game Officials are encouraged to use this form to describe competition-related incidents to submit with the MLS Referee Game Report to be reviewed by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
5.9 OFFICIALS’ ASSIGNMENTS AND FEES. The League shall work with the USSF on the assignment of Game Officials.  The League shall be responsible for the payment of fees and expenses for Game Officials. Teams shall receive assignment notices from the League's Operations Department.  Game Officials’ fees shall be determined by the League in conjunction with US Soccer.
Section 6
Game Procedures
6.1 Official Coin Toss.  The official coin toss will take place immediately after the team handshakes and team photos (See Exhibit C, “Game Day Timeline”).  The Referee and Team Captain’s will participate to determine the choice of ends to defend, as well as the kick-off.
A.  Pre-Game Injury, Illness or Dismissal.  After the exchange of the Official Game Rosters, roster changes by either Head Coach may be made only in case of injury, illness or dismissal during the warm-up period.  A Player who is removed from the official starting lineup shall not be eligible for substitution into the Game, with the exception of the Goalkeeper.  However, an eligible Active Roster Player may be added to the Official Game Roster to replace an injured or ill Player, not a dismissed Player.  A starting Player’s vacant Roster position may only be filled by a current, named substitute from the Official Game Roster.  The replacement Player can only be added to the list of eligible substitutions, not as a starting Player.  Any Player dismissed prior to the Game is not eligible and may not be replaced on the Roster (a named substitute may fill the roster position of a starting Player who has been dismissed).  No changes or additions to the Official Game Roster may occur less than TEN (10) minutes prior to the scheduled kick-off at which point the Game Roster becomes frozen and final.
B. Suspended Players.  Players suspended from MLS Reserve League play are not permitted on the field of play for pre-game warm-ups or during halftime.  Furthermore, suspended players are not permitted on the Team bench during the game.  Players suspended from MLS regular season games may participate in MLS Reserve League matches unless otherwise noted. 
6.2 Team Warm-Up Period.  Each Team will be entitled to a concurrent pre-Game warm-up period of not less than TWENTY (20) minutes, but not more than THIRTY (30) minutes, which shall begin and end pursuant to the game day timeline. 
6.3 Referee's Three (3) Whistles.  To help ensure on-time kick-offs for both halves, the Referee will blow his whistle THREE (3) different times to alert Teams to prepare for kick-off.   Coordinating timing with the Home Team staff, the Referee will give the THREE (3) whistles as follows (only the second and third whistles may be needed for second half kick-offs):
First Whistle:  THREE (3) minutes before kick-off
Second Whistle:  ONE (1) minute to kick-off to break up any on-field Team huddles and ensure that no balls are on the field so Players can take their Game positions.
Third Whistle:  To kick-off the game.
6.4 Official Game Rosters.  A total of EIGHTEEN (18) eligible Players for the Home Team and SIXTEEN (16) Players for the Visiting Team may be placed on the Team's Game Roster for any MLS Reserve LeagueSeason Game.  The Home Club will be responsible for submitting both Teams’ Rosters to the League Office along with the Referee Game Report within TWO (2) days of the Reserve League Game.
6.5 Game Timing.  All games shall consist of TWO (2), equal FORTY-FIVE (45)-minute halves.  Halftime shall be FIFTEEN (15) minutes in duration, unless a shorter period of time is agreed upon by both teams and the referee is informed prior to the start of the game.   
6.6 Player Substitutions.  A maximum of FIVE (5) substitutions may be used during any MLS Reserve League Season Game.  Once a player has been substituted from the game, he is not, under any circumstances, allowed to reenter in the game.  It is acceptable for the Goalkeeper to change places with a field Player as long as it is done in accordance with the requirements of  "FIFA Laws of the Game," Law 3 which states:
A.  The Referee is informed before the change is made.
B.  The change is made during a stoppage in the Game (corner kick, throw in, etc.).
C.  Delay or time wasting during this position exchange is not acceptable.  The Game will not be held up to allow for a complete change of equipment by either Player.  The former Goalkeeper must leave the field to change his equipment.  The equipment change may not be done on the field
D.  The change of positions is complete at the moment the new Goalkeeper is given a Goalkeeper shirt or jersey - which should be ready for him when the exchange is requested.  If the former Goalkeeper, who is now a field Player, is not ready to play in the basic compulsory equipment (same color jersey or shirt, socks and shorts, shin guards and footwear) as the other field Players on his Team, he may not re-enter the field until his equipment and uniform conform to "FIFA Laws of the Game," Law 4.  During this interim period, his Team must play short-handed. 
E.  When the Player is ready to re-enter the Game, the Referee will beckon the player onto the field at the next stoppage of play and check the former Goalkeeper’s uniform and equipment.  If satisfied with the Player's uniform condition, the Referee shall permit him to play.
6.7 Referee Secure Area.  At the conclusion of the first half and at the conclusion of the game, all game officials will take a position at the junction of the half-line and the far-side touchline (opposite the benches). Home team staff or security personnel must be positioned to meet the game officials in this area.  Game Officials will be instructed to immediately proceed to this area at the end of the half or match.  After the field has been cleared of players and bench personnel, the officials may proceed to the appropriate exit. 
6.8 POST-GAME PROCEDURES.  At the conclusion of the Game, the following forms will to be submitted to the League Office.  Non-compliance with these deadlines may result in fines.
6.8.1 Referee Game Report.  At the conclusion of the game, the Referee will submit the MLS Referee Game Report electronically.  The Referee will indicate the actual time of kick-off for the first and second halves and the game's end.  The Referee has a duty to report any rule violations or Game Day procedure comments on the MLS Referee Game or Competition Incident Report forms (see Exhibit B). The Referee will complete and submit the Referee Game Report to alfonso.mondelo@MLSsoccer.comfollowing the conclusion of the game.  MLS Competition will then distribute the information to the competing clubs.  Clubs will provide a laptop and a secure internet connection, preferably in the Referee Locker Room, for the Referee to submit this report.   If that capability does not exist, clubs may fax a report to MLS Competition at 212.450.1364. 
6.8.2 Competition Incident Report Form.  Technical Directors, Coaches, or other appropriate Club personnel, and Game Officials are requested to submit a Competition Incident Report form to report unusual, mishandled and other pertinent events to aid the League Office in assessments of referee performances. Such events should be described in detail within TWO (2) hours following the conclusion of the Game.  Game Officials are encouraged to use this form to describe competition-related incidents to submit with the MLS Referee Game Report to be reviewed by the MLS Disciplinary Committee.
6.8.3 Home and Visiting Teams Game Reports.  Teams are encouraged to file a Game Report for any observed violation of MLS rules or directives, or to report comments of a positive or negative nature regarding a Game or the conduct of either Team.  The Home Team Game Reports will be submitted the League as soon as possible and no later than FORTY-EIGHT (48) hours after a Game. 
6.9 GAME VIDEO.  MLS requires thevideotaping of each MLS Reserve Team Game.  Home Clubs are responsible for videotaping (DVD) each home game. Whenever possible, the recording shall be made from a vantage point that captures both Team benches. The Home Club will submit a copy of the game to the visiting team, referee and League Office to the attention of Alfonso Mondelo.  All copies will be provided within TWO (2) business days after the conclusion of the game.  Use of game video other than for coaching and scouting purposes is subject to League discipline.
Section 7
Equipment and Apparel
7.1 PLAYER DRESS CODE.  Players and Team Staff will maintain a neat, clean and professional appearance at all times while in public.  For all Team travel, including travel to and from the Home Team city and stadium, Coaches are encouraged to wear a coat and tie.  All members of the travel party should wear either a coat and tie, or Team polo shirt and slacks, Team warm-ups, or other distinctive and suitable Team apparel.  Shorts, T-shirts, and sandals are considered unprofessional and inappropriate.
7.1.1 Non-Game Events.  The Head Coach will designate appropriate Team attire/apparel to be worn at all non-Game Player activities and appearances.  At all public events, Practice Games, training sessions, clinics, skills demonstrations and appearances, Players and other Team staff may only wear equipment and apparel provided by the League or Team Official Supplier, unless an exception to this rule is included in an individual's employment contract.
7.2 PLAYER UNIFORMS, EQUIPMENT, AND IDENTIFICATION.  Each Player will be uniformly dressed in jerseys, shorts, and socks for pre-Game introductions and the Game.  Team supplied warm-upsmaybe worn over the uniform during pre-Game activities.  All Players will wear uniforms supplied by their Team's official uniform and footwear supplier, unless released from this obligation due to a pre-existing shoe contract.  No Player will sit on the bench in street clothes. 
Teams will use the "MLS Uniform Colors & Assignments" provided inExhibit C,as a guide for designating the appropriate jerseys, shorts and socks to be worn against each opponent.  However, the Game Notice, distributed by MLS Competition, is the official document designating appropriate game uniforms and colors.  As a general rule, the Home Team Uniform prevails, and Visiting Teams will adjust as necessary.  Teams are not required to travel with both sets of Game uniforms unless dictated by a multi-Game road trip.  Neither Team will ask the other to vary from the uniform designation for any reason.  Non-compliance will result in a Team fine and, if appropriate, an individual fine. 
7.2.1 Name and Number. Each Player will be assigned a number, which will not change throughout the Season. The number will have a maximum of two digits and appear on the back of the jersey and on the left side of the shorts and be current font provided by the league designated supplier (See Exhibit E, "Player Uniform Specifications").  Field player numbers must be whole numbers between “2” and “99” while only goalkeepers may wear numbers “0” and “1”.
7.2.2 Bleeding Player.  If a Player is bleeding, he must leave the field immediately to have the bleeding stopped and his skin and uniform cleaned as thoroughly as possible.  When the Player is ready to return to the Game, the Referee may delegate responsibility to the Fourth Official to inspect the injured area and the uniform for blood.  Once inspected by the Fourth Official, the Player may re-enter the Game with the Referee’s permission.  The Player may be required to change his uniform prior to re-entry.  Wearing an unnumbered jersey is permitted only under these circumstances.  A player will not wear a jersey with another person’s name on it.  If necessary, name information will be taped or masked, preferably in the same color as the team uniform.  As a last resort, an alternate jersey with another substitute’s player number may be worn only if a) the number is taped or masked, preferably in the same color as the team uniform, and b) the substitutes name will be removed from the team roster (the roster must also be adjusted to show the replacement jersey number for the player now wearing it).
The Equipment Manager will ideally have a second set of uniforms, and at minimum will have several extra jerseys (nameless, at least one with an unused number and at least one without a number, but displaying all Sponsor and League mandated markings) available at the bench.  
7.2.3 Goalkeeper Uniform and Equipment.  The Goalkeeper's uniform should feature different colors than his Teammates, opponents and the Game Officials’ uniforms. The Goalkeeper uniform and equipment will conform to FIFAguidelines and MLS guidelines and be authorized goalkeeper uniforms provided by uniform supplier, outlined in Exhibit E, "Player Uniform Specifications."  The Goalkeeper's dominant jersey color(s) will be completely different than his Team's jersey color(s) and that of the opponents Team.  While the Goalkeeper's shorts and socks may be the same as the rest of his Team, the League strongly encourages the Goalkeeper to wear an entire outfit that completely contrasts that of his Team's.  Each Team should carry an extra, unnumbered Goalkeeper jersey for a player not normally a Goalkeeper who is substituted at Goalkeeper for whatever reason. 
7.2.4 Apparel Under Shorts.  Thermalshorts or pants (slide shorts) may be worn under uniform shorts if they are the identical color as the uniform shorts and provided by uniform supplier.  Goalkeepers are excluded from these requirements and may, at their own discretion, wear long pants that distinguish them from their Teammates and Opponents.
7.2.5 Other Equipment.  All Players in uniform on Game Days will wear shin guards, covered by socks.  Equipment deemed dangerous by the Refereewill be removed and all FIFAequipment rules will be complied with and enforced by the Referee.  Tape, if used to hold up socks, must be of the same color as the uniform socks.  Players are not permitted to wear jewelry.
7.2.6 Footwear.  Players will wear the footwear of their MLS Team supplier, unless they have a pre-existing agreement or obtain written permission from the League (Please refer to the MLS Standard Player Agreement for more information).  Failure to comply with this policy may result in fines.
Referees should inspect all footwear prior to a game and insure that all footwear is absent of anything that would render such footwear dangerous to a player or his opponent.
7.2.7 Uniform Decorum.  Players will wear their uniforms with the jersey tucked in and the socks pulled up over their shin guards at all times on the field, adjacent and bench areas, and pre-Game and post-Game.  Players on the bench who will not play (i.e. Injured Players) will wear their Team warm-ups during the Game.
7.2.8 Ancillary Equipment.  The display of sponsor logos on any ancillary equipment (e.g. head bands, turtlenecks, gloves, etc.) is expressly prohibited unless prior approval in writing is granted by the League Office.
7.2.9 Apparel Under Jersey.  Players must not wear an undergarment that exhibits slogans or logos that are not of the same brand as the Team's uniform supplier.  Inciting slogans, political messages or profane words are also banned.  Players may be fined and/or suspended for violations of this policy.  In addition, completely removing one's shirt over head as part of a goal celebration is strongly discouraged as such behavior will result in an official caution from the Referee.  All apparel worn under the jersey will be the identical color as the player’s uniform jersey.
7.3 COACHES AND NON-PLAYING BENCH PERSONNEL ATTIRE. Coaches and Assistant Coaches are strongly encouraged towear a coat and tie, or polo shirt and slacks, during the Game. Coaches and other bench personnel may not wear footwear, sport coats or shirts with logos other than their Team and/or uniform supplier logo.
Section 8
Player and Staff Discipline
8.1LEAGUE DISCIPLINE.  The League may impose discipline on Players, Clubs, or League or Team staff, and Clubs may impose discipline on their own Players and Team staff as set forth in the CBA.  Penalties may include a fine, suspension and/or other sanctions for a period of time.  In assessing a penalty, consideration may be given to, among other factors, the specific conduct at issue, the harm that was done, other penalties for similar misconduct, whether an individual or Club has committed other misconduct, whether or not the behavior is part of a pattern of continuing misconduct, and other extenuating circumstances.  Suspensions may be either with or without pay.  For certain major misconduct, pursuant to the Operating Agreement or with respect to Players as set forth in the CBA, the Commissioner may also impose discipline and declare a Player, or League or Team staff member ineligible.  Investors in MLS and/or Team Operators may also be disciplined pursuant to the MLS Operating Agreement.
8.1.1 Disciplinary Committee. The Commissioner will have the power to establish a Disciplinary Committee, whose individuals shall serve at the pleasure of the Commissioner.  The Commissioner or his desired representative may delegate to this Committee those League disciplinary powers he deems advisable for MLS Regular Season Games and MLS Reserve League Games. 
8.1.2 General Discipline.  Before discipline is taken, the League or Club will make reasonable investigations into the alleged violations, and may take note of any information available to them, including but not limited to Referee Reports, Competition Incident Reports, video footage, interviews, written statements from individuals outside the League, and information from MLS or Club staff. 
8.2 GAME MISCONDUCT.  The first responsibility for disciplining Game Misconduct shall rest with the Referee pursuant to the FIFA Laws of the Game.  In addition, however, Players, Coaches, and other Club staff may be disciplined by the League or their Club for Game Misconduct pursuant to this Handbook and the MLS Game Operations Manual, and may be subject to further discipline pursuant to other rules or procedures.  For the purposes of assessing red or yellow cards, the Referee’s Game Report shall be considered, as well as the home Club’s submitted video coverage. For any other Game misconduct, the League may consider all information available, including videotapes of the conduct in question.
8.2.1 Cautions, Send-Offs, and Dismissals.  The penalties set forth in this Section shall apply to all cards awarded to Players in any MLS Reserve League Season Game.  Suspensions attributable to yellow and red cards issued in MLS Reserve League Games shall only be imposed for future MLS Reserve League Games and not MLS Regular Season Games.  Conversely, suspensions attributable to yellow and red cards issued in MLS Regular Season Games shall not apply to future MLS Reserve League Games.
A. Send-Offs.  Red card suspensions shall be levied for all MLS Reserve League Games.  Players who receive a second yellow card in a MLS Reserve League Season Game and thus a red card are deemed to have received a red card.  Any Player who receives a red card sending him off from any MLS Reserve League Game shall serve a one-game suspension from the next MLS Reserve League Season Game for with he is eligible to appear.  Trialists and Academy Players used in Reserve League Matches will serve suspensions but will not incur fines. For all MLS Roster Players a fine schedule similar to the one used in MLS Regular Season Games shall be imposed over the course of the season as follows:
1.  For the first offense: A fine of $250
2.  For the second offense: A fine of $500
3.For the third offense:  A fine of $1,000 plus additional sanctions at the discretion of the League Disciplinary Committee
B.  Coach or Other Non-Player Dismissal.  Pursuant to FIFA guidelines, a Coach or other non-Player that is dismissed will not be shown a card, but rather will be informed of the dismissal verbally by the Referee.  If the Referee is unable to communicate the dismissal directly, (e.g., the Coach has retired to the Locker Room for halftime), he may communicate the dismissal via the Field Manager or Assistant Field Manager. A Coach dismissed during a Game will be escorted by security or the appropriate Club Liaison to the Locker Room area or away from the field of play.  He will serve a one-game suspension from the next MLS Reserve League Season Game for which he is eligible to appear.  He may watch the Game from a vantage point not visible to spectators, but may not sit in any Press Area or amongst working members of the media.  He will not communicate with his Club staff or Players during play.  If Locker Rooms are utilized, Coaches dismissed during a Game may remain in the Locker Room area during halftime.
C.  Player/Coach or Non-Player Behavior After Send-Off/Dismissal.  A Player, Coach, or other non-Player who fails to immediately leave the field after being sent-off or dismissed by the
Referee will be further fined or suspended by the League.  Players and Coaches are advised that further dispute and protest, including but not limited to charging/surrounding the Referee to complain, causing unnecessary delay in the restart of the Game, is deemed to be a serious offense worthy of a fine/suspension on its own.  Referees have been advised to report such behavior to the League.
D. Yellow Card Accumulation.  Any Player, who receives THREE (3) yellow cards during the MLS Reserve League Season, shall be suspended for the next MLS Reserve League Season Game in which he may appear. Trialists and Academy Players used in Reserve League Matches will serve suspensions but will not incur fines.
E.  Dissent and Lack of Respect for the Game.  Separate fine schedules similar to the ones in place in MLS Regular Season Games for Cautions awarded in MLS Reserve League Games for the offense Dissent (DT2a or DT2b) and the offense Unsporting Behavior (UB1d), Lack of Respect for the Game shall be imposed based on each offense as follows.
All MLS Roster Players
(includes Generation adidas Players)
1st                                $100
2nd                               $200
3rd                                $400
4th                                $800
5th                                $1,600*
*Fifth and each thereafter
Dissent is characterized as either ‘verbally or through action disputes or shows contempt for an official’s decision’, or ‘if playing as a goalkeeper, leaves the penalty area (not beckoned by the referee) to engage an official in debate regarding a decision.’  Lack of Respect for the Game is characterized by ‘an act which, in the opinion of the referee, shows a lack of respect for the game {e.g., aggressive attitude, inflammatory behavior, or taunting.}’ 
F.  Suspended Coach.  Any Coach serving a Game suspension may not enter his Club's Locker Room or appear on the field during pre-Game, the game itself or at halftime, but may enter his Club's Locker Room after the Game.  Neither may he sit in the Press area nor communicate with his Club in any way.  The Coach will be seated in a private suite, Visiting Team Box or another predetermined area.
G.  Suspended Player.  A Player serving a suspension is not permitted on the field or to sit on his Team's bench at any time prior to or during the Game for which he has been suspended, nor can he communicate with the Team bench during the Game.  He will be granted permission to sit in the grandstand or another predetermined area.  The suspended Player may be in the Locker Room pre-Game, at halftime, and post-Game.  The suspended Player is not permitted to workout or warm-up on the field with his Team prior to the Game for which he has been suspended.
H. Player/Coach Rules.  A Player/Coach must be listed on the official game roster to be considered a Player.  Whether listed as a named substitute or not, he will be considered a Coach while on the Team Bench.  If a Player/Coach is sent off as a player during the Game, he will be suspended for one game and cannot return as a Player for the next scheduled League Season Game, but may return as a Coach.  If he is sent off from the Game as a Coach, he will be suspended for one game and cannot return as a Player or a Coach for the next scheduled MLS Reserve League Season Game.          
Section 9
Game Delay, Postponement and Cancellation
9 GAME DELAYS, POSTPONEMENT, AND CANCELLATION. Game delays, postponements and cancellations are governed by this section. Because of the possibility of game delays or postponement, the Clubs' Chief Business Officer and Operations Director will have direct means for communication (i.e. cellular phone) with the League Office.  The League Office will provide these phone numbers prior to the start of the season, and this information will be included on Game Notices.
  • Clubs that have less than twenty-eight (28) players on their roster AND reschedule (or cancel games) a game after the September 30 deadline will be subject to a fine/penalty (e.g., $10k).
9.1 CHANGES TO THE GAME SCHEDULE.  The League Office is responsible for creating the MLS Reserve League schedule.  All game dates and starting times will be proposed by the participating Clubs and submitted to the League Office.  Game dates and/or times may not be changed unless so approved both Clubs.  The League will have the final say in regard to all changes. 
9.2 AUTHORITY TO DELAY, POSTPONE OR CANCEL A GAME. An MLS Reserve League game may be delayed or cancelled due to (1) the failure of one or both Teams to arrive, (2) a lack of preparedness of one or both Teams to begin or continue playing a Game, (3) challenges with the national or regional telecast, (4) serious incident, injury or fatality to a Player, Coach, Game Official, Club representative or spectator, or (5) unfavorable weather and/or other adverse conditions beyond the control of the participating Clubs which would make the playing of the Game impractical or dangerous for the Players, other participants, or spectators.  It is important that the rules and procedures of this Section are explicitly followed in determining whether to delay, postpone or cancel a Game.
For all potential Game delay scenarios, the Home Team, in conjunction with the Stadium, Local Law Enforcement and other applicable agencies, will have a detailed response plan prepared.
Applicable to this section, Competition is defined by the moment a Team arrives at the stadium on game day until the final whistle is blown (including pre-game dressing preparations, pre-game warm-ups, half-time, and all game action).  If a Game requires rescheduling as a result of any of the above occurrences, the affected Clubs and the League will determine a new date and time to replay the game in question.  If a significant delay is experienced, the Game Officials and Clubs will follow the guidelines set forth in this section before play is resumed.  Furthermore, in case of a delay or a cancellation that requires rescheduling, the Home Team is responsible for informing the fans, via public address announcements or other means, of the situation at hand.  Such announcements will be prepared in advance, vaguely reference the situation (e.g. "the accident that has occurred on the field") and explain the delay or cancellation policy that governs the relevant situation.
9.3.1 Game Delay.  If one of the conditions set forth above exists, the Home Club General Manager, in consultation with the League Designee, Visiting Club Coach and Referee, may delay the start of the Game for up to TEN (10) minutes.
9.3.2 Lightning and Severe Weather.  Given the likelihood of lightning during the Reserve League Season, and the potential for personal injury and structural damages lightning can cause, each Home Clubwill have a detailed thunderstorm delay plan.       
9.3.3 Natural Disaster and Damage to the Facility.  Given the possibility of a natural disaster (e.g. earthquake) during the League Season and the potential for personal injury and structural damage that may result, each Home Club will have a detailed emergency response plan that includes the following:     
  1. Specific persons in charge of decision-making (one management level person from the stadium, one person from the Home Club, one person from Law Enforcement)
  2. Formation of a crisis management Team with pre-designated meeting location (and back-up location) that includes the Referee, Club Representatives and TV Producer
  3. Immediate and consistent contact with the League’s Game Notice Designee
  4. Updates to spectators and media via PA Announcements (and video if available)
  5. "Standing Orders" (procedures) published and posted to accomplish the above
The decision as to whether the game will begin or resume will be made in conjunction with Stadium Officials and local law enforcement, and other applicable personnel qualified to ascertain the safety of the event.  Prior to making a decision, the affected Home Club will immediately contact the League Designee to discuss the situation and determine an appropriate and respectful course of action.  Each incident that falls under this category will be treated on a case-by-case basis, although consideration will be given to play or resume the Game as scheduled.
9.3.4 Terrorist or Unspecified Threat to the Safety of the Event.  Given the possibility of a terrorist or unspecified threat to the safety of event participants and spectators, Clubs will have a response plan prepared that includes elements detailed in Section 9.3.3, “Natural Disaster and Damage to Stadium Superstructure.”
The Home Club will immediately contact the League Designee to discuss the situation and determine an appropriate and respectful course of action.  The ultimate decision as to whether the game will begin or resume will be made in conjunction with Stadium Officials and local law enforcement, and other applicable personnel qualified to ascertain the safety of the event.  Each incident that falls under this category will be treated on a case-by-case basis, although consideration will be given to play or resume the game as scheduled.
9.3.5 Facility Power Failure. Given the possibility of a partial or full power failure at a stadium, Clubs will have a detailed response plan prepared.  In such a situation, the game may be delayed if the power failure results in the following:
  1. The Referee determines that it is dangerous for Players or Game Officials to continue the Game.  This decision to stop play is in the sole discretion of the Referee.
  1. The Referee determines that an unreasonable competitive advantage is created by continuing the Game under current conditions (e.g. unbalanced lighting favors one Team).  This decision to stop play is in the sole discretion of the Referee.
  1. Club and stadium officials determine that it is dangerous for spectators and/or stadium personnel to continue the Game.  In such a situation, the Security Liaison to the Referee will communicate this need to stop play.
In the case of a power failure, every effort will be made to continue and finish the Game in its entirety once the problem has been adequately fixed or the integrity of the competition has been established or restored and the safety of spectators, stadium personnel, and Players have been assured.
9.3.6 Serious Injury of a Player, Coach, Game Official or Club Representative. If a Player, Coach, Game Official or other bench personnel suffers a serious injury (e.g. paralysis or heart attack) during the course of competition, every effort will be made to finish the game in its entirety once the injured person(s) is safely removed from the field area.  It is the responsibility of the Game Officials to manage the players and bench personnel during a delay caused by a serious injury.  In such instances, the Home Club will immediately contact the League Designee to keep the League informed of the situation and seek direction as necessary.
9.3.7 Fatality Before Game Day or Arriving at the Facility. If a Player, Coach, Game Official, spectator, League or Club Staff suffers a serious or fatal incident before game day or prior to arriving at the stadium on game day, the affected Club will immediately contact the League Designee to discuss the situation and determine an appropriate and respectful course of action.  Each incident that falls under this category will be treated on
a case-by-case basis, although consideration will be made to play the game as scheduled. 
9.3.8 Fatality During Competition. If a Player, Coach, Game Official or other bench personnel is determined to have suffered a fatal incident during the course of competition, the game may end at that point and, per Section 14.3.17, would be rescheduled and replayed in full if the incident occurs in the first half of play or the game will be considered final if the incident occurs in the second half of play.  In such instances, the Home Club will immediately contact the League Designee to keep the League informed of the situation and seek direction as necessary.
9.3.9 Team Warm-Up Period Following Game Delay. MLS Clubs and Players will be permitted a warm-up period following any game delay, due to weather or other unforeseen circumstances.  The duration of the warm-up period will be determined by the length of the game delay.
  1. A FIVE (5) minute warm-up will be permitted following a game delay of up to      TEN (10) minutes
  2. A TEN (10) minute warm-up will be permitted following a game delay between TEN (10) and THIRTY (30) minutes
  3. A FIFTEEN (15) minute warm-up will be permitted following a game delay between THIRTY (30) and SIXTY (60) minutes
  4. A TWENTY (20) minute warm-up will be permitted following a game delay of greater than SIXTY (60) minutes
These guidelines set forth a maximum duration for warm-ups.  The Game Official, with the mutual approval of the Head Coach from each competing Team, may designate a warm-up period shorter than the previously stated guidelines.
9.3.10 Guidelines for Resuming a Game.  When resuming a Game that has been postponed, play will continue at the exact time at which it was stopped and Referees will utilize the appropriate restart.  If the game is stopped at a dead-ball situation, it will resume by allowing the appropriate Team to take the restart they were awarded before play was suspended (e.g., throw-in, goal kick, etc).  If the game is stopped during the run of play, it will resume with a dropped ball at the location on the field where the ball was positioned when the game was postponed.
Under no circumstances will the Referee allow the start or resumption of play to begin after 12:00 am, midnight, local time.  Therefore, the guaranteed warm-up period of TWENTY (20) minutes for a delay greater than SIXTY (60) minutes must start prior to 11:40 pm local time. 
Furthermore, under no circumstance will the Referee allow play to continue beyond 1:00 am local time.  Therefore, under no circumstance should play be resumed if there is no chance of completing a full game prior to 1:00 am.
9.3.11 Stadium Curfews. When deciding whether to resume play, Clubs must be aware of local stadium curfews imposed by respective cities which may prohibit the start or continuation of play after a certain time.  Such local curfews, which determine the point at which the game must be completed, are listed in Exhibit A, “Game Delays, Cancellations and Stadium Curfews” and may affect the aforementioned guidelines for resuming a game.
9.3.12 Game Cancellation Prior to Game Start. Prior to a Club’s first regular season home game, written confirmation indicating the stadium curfew, on stadium letterhead, will be provided to the League Office Prior to the start of a Game.  Only the League Designee, after consulting with the Referee and a representative of the Home and Visiting Clubs, may determine whether or not a Game will be cancelled.  The League Designee will be informed of the possibility of a cancellation by the Home Club General Manager at the earliest possible time. Given the difficulty and cost of rescheduling, every attempt will be made to complete the game that day irrespective of the length of the delay.  Postponements will be considered only in an extreme situation such as a flooded playing field, structural damage, or serious injury/fatality as described in this Section.  In the case of thunderstorms and lightning, play can generally resume after the storm has passed.
9.3.13 Game Cancellation After Game Start. Once a Game has commenced, only the Referee will have the authority to stop play and cancel the Game, and may do so only for one of the reasons set forth in this Section.  However, the Referee and Teams will make all efforts to play and complete the Game unless otherwise directed by the League.
A. Due to Inclement Weather. Due to inclement weather:  Unless a risk to personal safety exists, the Referee will wait a minimum of THIRTY (30) minutes (excluding halftime) and consult with the Club representatives and the League Designee before canceling the remainder of a Game. It is not necessary to wait an additional THIRTY (30) minutes if a second Game stoppage is caused by the same conditions. 
B. Due to field invasion. Due to field invasion:  If conditions beyond the control of the participating Teams or the Referee force suspension of the Game, such as an invasion of the field, the Referee will suspend play and consult with the Home Club representatives, including security, and the League Designee before terminating a Game. 
If theadverse conditions cannot be rectified within that period of suspension, the Referee may terminate the game after re-evaluating and discussing the situation with the Home and Visiting Team representatives as well as the League Designee.
In such a situation all Players, staff, and Referees will be escorted to the Locker Rooms or another pre-designated location by stadium security to ensure their protection and safety.  Security will also maintain a presence on and around the field to keep fans and spectators off of the playing field.
9.3.14 Game Cancellation Criteria. MLS Game cancellations will occur only in the most serious circumstances.  However, the personal safety of the Game participants, Game personnel and spectators will always be of the highest priority.  Other factors the Referee and League will consider include whether or not Clubs have requested the cancellation, difficulty in rescheduling the Game, television broadcast considerations, current and forecasted weather conditions, travel conditions, the current whereabouts of Clubs and Officials (if not at the stadium) and the likelihood of them reaching the stadium.
9.3.15 Rescheduling a Cancelled Game. The following rules shall govern the rescheduling of a canceled MLS Reserve League Season Game.
A. Games Cancelled Before Commencement of Play.  Any Game that is cancelled pursuant to this Section shall be rescheduled or cancelled permanently by the League at the earliest possible time.
B. Games Cancelled After Commencement of Play.  If a Game is cancelled prior to the completion of the first half of play, regardless of the score, the score shall not be recorded and the Game will be treated as if it were cancelled before it started.  If a Game is cancelled subsequent to the completion of the first half of play and a Team leads in goals or the score is tied at halftime, the score and all Game statistics will stand as final.
The MLS Disciplinary Committee reserves the right to review and act upon any incidents that occur during the game prior to it being cancelled.  Any red cards issued will follow the protocol set forth in Section 8.2.1, “Cautions, Send-Offs, and Dismissals” and Players are subject to fines and suspension from future games.  A player sent off  or bench personnel dismissed from a Game that is cancelled prior to the start of the second half, will serve the automatic one game suspension and any supplemental disciplinary action taken by the MLS Disciplinary Committee in that Club’s next MLS Reserve League game(s). However, Teams will start the rescheduled game with a full complement of players even if the Game in question is a Club’s next MLS Reserve League Game.
C. Rescheduling Considerations.  The Commissionerwill have the authority to review all the facts, including fault on the part of either Team, unavoidable conditions, expense for both Clubs, requests by a Club to take a particular action and the best interest of MLS and the Clubs, in determining whether a Game will be rescheduled and when, who should bear the financial burden as a result of the cancellation or rescheduling, whether the Game should be forfeited or cancelled permanently, and whether other sanctions should be levied.  The integrity of MLS as well as the Home and Visiting Clubs schedules will be given considerable weight in the resolution of these matters.  Unless the sanction or remedy is set forth specifically in any MLS rules or directives, the Commissioner will decide what action to take, and his decision will be final.
9.3.16 Preparedness to Play. In the event a Team:  (a) does not arrive at the stadium on time, unless through no fault of their own, (b) is not prepared or does not commence playing a MLS Game at its scheduled kick-off time, or (c) does not complete the Game, and the Game is not played to conclusion on that day; the League may declare the Game to have been forfeited by such Team and it may not be rescheduled.  In either case, further penalties may be imposed against the offending Club, including Game preparation costs and penalties against individuals pursuant to Section 13 (failure to participate) of the Game OperationsManual.
In the event neither Team is prepared to commence the playing of a MLS Reserve League Game at the scheduled kick-off time or does not complete such Game, and the Game is not played to a conclusion on that day, the League may reschedule the Game, or declare the Game to have been forfeited by both Teams with neither Club receiving any points for the Game, and may impose further penalties on the Clubs.   
Section 10
Emergency Medical and Evacuation Plans
10  EMERGENCY MEDICAL AND EVACUATION PLANS.  Every Club will establish Game Day emergency medical and evacuation procedures in conjunction with its stadium authority.  Upon request, Clubs will submit copies of their emergency medical and evacuation plans, along with responses to “Guidelines for Best Stadium Security Practices” (See Exhibit A), to the League TWO (2) weeks prior to their first Home Game of each League Season.  As with other stadium rules, differences may occur between stadiums on how and who will implement these plans.  Clubs will also conduct a pre-season table-top discussion whereby all Game Day Staff practice and understand such medical and evacuation emergency plans.  It is also recommended that each Club stage a pre-season rehearsal to review such procedures. Multilingual capabilities will also be addressed.  Above all, necessary precautions will be taken to ensure spectator, Team and Staff safety at all times.  Medical activities and protocol will also be in compliance with the MLS Medical Policies & Procedures Manual..
10.1     MEDICAL EMERGENCY PLAN. Medicalemergencies create a need for immediate medical attention on the field, in the stands and in press/VIP areas.  In addition to field injuries wherein a Player is injured during the Game, non-participant emergencies may include heart attacks, eye injuries, head or neck trauma, heat exhaustion, obstetrical (labor) emergencies, insect or bee stings, respiratory (choking) problems, fractures, allergic reactions, etc.  The following are basic parameters to follow in developing Club policies.  Responsibilities may vary, based upon the role stadium personnel want and are capable of assuming (see Exhibit A, “Stadium Security Guidelines”).
10.2 Certified Athletic trainer.   In addition to the medical emergency plan, the Home Club shall have a certified Athletic Trainer available at each Home Game.  At no time shall a Player be subjected to risk or aggravation of an injury by removing him from the field.  Referees shall ensure that injured Players are removed from the field as soon as safely possible.  In most cases, the Referee shall initially call for the athletics trainer to be brought onto the field. 
10.2.1 Ambulance and EMT Crew. The Home Club will have at least ONE (1) ALS (Advanced Life Support) ambulance and one EMT Crew at each Home Game.  Furthermore, at least ONE (1) ALS ambulance and one EMT Crew will be dedicated to the players and the field of play at all times.
10.3 EVACUATION PLAN. In the event a stadium or parts thereof, will be evacuated due to natural causes (i.e. earthquakes, floods), bomb or terrorist’s threats, fire and smoke, etc., each Club will develop and implement, in conjunction with their stadium, an emergency evacuation plan.  This plan will cover how to safely and quickly remove all spectators, Teams, and Staff from the damaged area or venue itself; establish what equipment needs to be on hand; and include a notification system for law enforcement agencies, fire, or other emergency response departments.
Section 11
Media Relations
11  MEDIA RELATIONS.  Each Club's Media Relations Director will promote soccer and MLS to the media and foster goodwill to enhance public understanding and support for MLS.  The Home Clubwill accommodate the media and shall provide credentials for entry to the Game and parking as necessary.
11.1 HOME CLUB REPRESENTATIVE. During each Game, the Home Clubwill provide a designee to oversee media-specific needs while maintaining a neutral and impartial comportment at all times.  Additionally, the Home Clubwill provide a designee to oversee and maintain statistics during each game. 
11.2 MEDIA CREDENTIALS.  Media will consist of the following categories: writers, photographers, radio and television broadcasters and their crews.  The League Office and MLS Clubs will furnish League-wide, All-Stadium Season passes, Club Season or day passes to qualified accredited members of the media.  Credentials are not transferable and must be worn in a visible location at all times.  Upon request, Club media relations officers are required to provide the League with a list of their local media who will receive such a pass.  Club employees, other than Media Relations Staff and broadcast personnel, will not receive media credentials.
All media, Visiting Club, and Home Club personnel will exhibit professional decorum in the Press area, and Press area announcements will be made during the Game indicating there will be no cheering or favoritism displayed.  Violators may be asked to leave the Press area or have their credential privileges suspended or revoked.
11.3 ACCESS.  All members of the media who hold an MLS or Club media credential will be afforded all professional courtesies, included but not limited to access to the facility, Locker Rooms (at designated times), work rooms and seating areas during all Games.  All media will have equal access to Players and Club personnel, Locker Rooms and other facilities, regardless of gender.
11.4.1 Pre-Game/Halftime Media Access.The Club media relations Staff will coordinate with the Head Coaches regarding Locker Room media access if Locker Rooms are utilized.  The media is prohibited access to the Locker Room THIRTY (30) minutes before the Game and at halftime.  Violations of this policy may result in fines to the offending party.
11.4.2 Post-Game Media Access.  A Head Coach may keep the Locker Room or bench area closed off to the media for the purpose of a post-Game Team meeting for no more than TEN (10) minutes from the end of the Game (determined by the Referee's whistle).
11.4.3 Notifying the League of Results.  If requested, a Home Club representative will provide full details of the Game to the designated individual in the MLS office by telephone within FIVE (5) minutes of the conclusion of the Game.  A copy the Referee's Game Report will be faxed to the League offices within TEN (10) minutes of the conclusion of the Game.  Game statistics will include final and half-time scores; goal scorers; assists; goal times; shots per Team; Goalkeeper saves; corner kicks per Team; attendance; cautions and/or send-offs; complete lineups, noting time and names of any substitutes who enter the Game and who they replaced; Officials' names and positions; and other pertinent information, which will be recorded using the Elias Real Time Scoring System.
11.5 PHOTOGRAPHER LIMITATIONS.  Any photographer shooting a MLS Reserve League Game will be subject to the following guidelines: the use of any photograph, film, tape or drawing of the Game, Player interviews, or other activities will be limited to news coverage of the Game or event by the organization to which the credential is issued.  Any other usage must be authorized in writing by MLS.