Sydney Syd Bercov

First University of Law Graduate to be a Referee In the Canadian Football League
1960 – 1980 (approximate dates) Refereed CFL Games Including Five Grey Cups

1956 – Graduated in Law, University of Alberta
1957 – Admitted to the Bar

Enjoyed the football officiating work – meant he could go from the legal world with its demands, restrictions and requirement to the physical world - the rain and mud, miserable weather and cold. The change was refreshing.

Officiating was very difficult - the fans, coaches, media and the CFL Supervisors were very critical and demanding. Sometimes requirements were made that were impossible to put into effect. Officiating football is more difficult than other game, e.g. field so large it is difficult to know where to go. Other times it was impossible to see the ball and just what was happening.

One time a B.C sports broadcaster tore a strip off Syd on the air and said that he had robbed B.C. of a game due to his awful (etc.) officiating. In fact Syd had not even worked at that game! The broadcaster completely retracted his remarks and apologized on the air after Syd let him know he would sue.

  • Currently Practising Law at Emery Jamieson LLP, Edmonton, AB
  • Practising Law for over 55 years


  • Queen’s Counsel
  • First recipient of the distinguished Service Award for exceptional contribution and achievement presented by the Edmonton Bar Association
  • Certificate of Merit from the Law Society of Alberta for service and dedication to the profession.
  • Holds an ‘AV’ rating for the prestigious Martindale – Hubbell legal directory

Volunteer Activities

Former Lecturer – Professional Responsibility – Faculty of Law, U of A