[REFEREES]Indiana's law forbidding children under the age of 14 from refereeing is receiving quite a bit of attention. Matthew Burkart, one of the 12-year-old referees negatively affected by the current law, was asked to speak before a recent hearing of the Indiana Senate Committee on Pension and Labor.
Murray Clark, the president of Indiana Soccer, Samir Yasa, Indiana’s State Referee Administrator, also attended the hearing of Burkart.
Youth referees have been throughout the United States for the past 40-plus years, but in 2012 Indiana Soccer suspended the use of 12- and 13-year old referees from participating as referees due to Indiana’s child labor law.
Indiana youth soccer officials are working with Indiana's Department of Labor on seeing how the law could be changed to allow children under age 14 to referee.
After the hearing, the 10-member Committee on Pension and Labor voted unanimously to move the proposed Senate Bill 153 on to the next level.
The bill would make an exception for children 12-years-old and older working as referees, officials or umpires in athletic contests.
“I am very pleased with the outcome so far,” said Yasa.