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Question Number: 26411

Law 5 - The Referee 6/2/2012

RE: all Adult

tom of Lincoln, MA USA asks...

The hardest part of reffing adult women's league games is the player check-in. How can I do this quicker and get the games started on time? Players typically arrive just before the game is scheduled to start. Is there something I can do to help get the game started on time? Sometimes teams have the 7 needed by game time but getting the other players into the game in a timely way makes me delay to check them in before starting the game (instead of trying to do this piecemeal as the game continues - I figure better continuity once the game is started).

2 weeks ago the league told refs to only allow certain id's to be accepted. The next week, one team did not have the player id's that the league required and the players became angry and argumentative. A man who declared himself the coach called this league directive 'stupid' and kind of made it even harder for me. (He claimed he was worked for the league too but did not know this directive). The team (and coach's) disputing this directive pushed the game start back further as they argued and scrambled for id's. Looking back, they had 8 checked in, enough to start by game time. But again, they kept showing me things, 'is this ok?'. 'No, you need this.' And I figured better to get it sorted than have this distraction at every restart.

The new directive made this pre-game very confrontational, especially with the coach shouting and stomping around protesting with words like 'stupid' and 'ridiculous' and blaming me for following the directive. I felt very uncomfortable and finally had to warn him to stop or I would ask him to leave. The fact that this was the 2nd game after the directive was given made me realize that the ref who handled their game the week before must have let them slide. Which leads me finally to wonder is it better for the ref to keep good will and get the game started on time or follow league directives and not allow players who do not have proper id?

My game report contained what happened but I never heard back from the league.

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

One size does not fit all.

But, I find it helpful in these types of games to do the coin toss even though players aren't ready to check in. It signals ready to play.

When players are there to have fun and enjoy the game, the referee does not need to be a chronometer or a task master about starting on time. (In a high level match, however, this is a high priority - - but in such a match, the players have been warming up for 45 minutes, not arriving at match time.) The league likely will support shortening the time when players are not ready at match time.

Checking for IDs is important to most leagues for several reasons. First, their insurance covers players who are registered and have signed waivers. Second, leagues always get complaints about "ringers" who don't belong on the team. Third, league fees may be based on registered players. Thus, it is very important to follow league directions regarding player passes. But, it is possible to remain calm and polite when players are upset because they do not expect to know or follow the league's procedures. The venting is at the jersey, not the individual.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Tom
Admin causes problem for referees throughout the world. Players don't really want to do this nor do coaches and they see paperwork as an intrusion, cumbersome etc.
Referees though are engaged by the Leagues and one of our key roles is to ensure that the paperwork is correct. If I get grief from anyone I just say to them that I'm just the messenger not the rule maker and if they have a problem raise it with the League administrators. These bodies have AGMs, regular meeting etc where these matters are decided usually for very good reasons.
My advice is to deal with the paperwork before kick off and as required by the League. I can assure you that if something goes pear shaped and there is a problem the coach or players will not leap to the defence of the referee.

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