Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 28928

Character, Attitude and Control 11/1/2014

RE: recreational Under 15

harry nye of tottenham, Ontario Canada asks...

I have been suspended as a coach for receiving two warnings in a game. The first warning, the subject of my question, was for asking where the technical area is. There is no designated seating area, there are no technical area markings, and there were no instructions received about the technical area or at all before this game. Do I have a case for an appeal based on technical mistakes made by the tribunal and the ref?

The second warning, while not related to my question, was for arguing a call. I was in fact asking after the state of the game in our area and why we cannot ever receive a full referee team (two games had no refs and many games did not have enough, only ever on my home field, this ref was the person responsible for booking refs). The ref fabricated a story, writing on the report that I argued a call. OK, I have a second question, how is respect for the game enforced on a referee?


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Harry
The technical area extends one yard on either side of the designated seated area and extends forward up to a distance of one yard from the touch line. It is recommended that markings are used to define this area.
In the absence of a designated seating area nor markings then there is no technical area present. It would be expected though that subs and technical staff would stay in one location close to half way and behave in a responsible manner. Okay if no defined technical area was present before kick off the referee should have made an effort to get the area defined to limit the movement of subs and technical staff. I have used cones to do this when the home club could not mark out the area before kick off. Some referees go with what they find believing that there will be no issues from the touchline. When it does happen the lack of preparedness cause problems for the game.
Now was there a possibility that you were going up and down the touchline or even stepping on to the field of play and that the referee asked for that to stop which was then countered by asking to show the technical area? That confrontation was probably the referees first warning. The second warning related then further questioning of the referees which then resulted in you being removed from the game. Remember that a coach can only give tactical instructions only.
As regards the availability of referee crews for the games that is a matter for your local league and association. Referees are in short supply and getting games covered is a challenge. It is of no concern to the referee in a game.
Now as to your final part of the question. Each League has an appeal process in that any decision by a disciplinary body can be appealed to the next level and that can continue all the way to the highest level.
Throughout the world appeals can be moved all the way to national association level and beyond if a club wants to spend the time and money to do that. The sequence normally is an appeal to the next level such as state/county followed by an appeal to provincial level followed by an appeal to the national association and the ultimately to international. Most give up after the first level of appeal which is the first level whatever that may be.
Referees are subject to the same discipline and laws as everyone else in the game and any complaint against a referee will be fully investigated and that can involve a hearing in which witnesses are called to hear the case against the official assuming of course that there is merit in the case in the first place. From experience if it is a performance issue a discussion with a league representative can be helpful.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

IMO, the better way for a coach to address performance issues by the referee assignor is to discuss this matter directly with the league administrator. The league hires the assignor, and can fire an assignor.

My experience is that 99 percent of recreational matches do not have a technical area marked, and I suspect your league expects that the coaches will be able to behave responsibly without being told within ten yards of the halfway line (when each team is on different touchlines) on on their own side of the halfway line within ten yards of the end of their benches (when each team is on the same touchline). No league permits a coach (particularly a dissenting coach) to stroll down the touchline at will.

Read other questions answered by Referee Dennis Wickham

View Referee Dennis Wickham profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Any well run league should have recording and reporting guidelines. Mentoring and assessing protocols! Hopefully with an integrated program, where all parties meet to discuss and have explained what to do if there is conflict or disputes!

The technical area if unmarked creates issues! Wandering individuals cruise up and down the touchlines creating problems for the ARs as well as general dissent and game management issues. I really have to question the idea of responsibility and accountability when it comes to actions by adults when educating or mentoring our children. We teach by example and given the poor examples we set, just what inference do you think the kids take away?

No competent referee would be abusing their powers to show that they have power! It is unethical and no less bullying than an obtuse coach doing the same! They must reported, same as any individual acting improperly!

I also use a can of spray paint and cones to delineate a technical area if one is not readily apparent! I also clear a safe radius around the perimeter of the pitch so bystanders and players are not colliding into one another or my ARs are unable to see properly up and down the field.

That said, no matter the inadequate delineating lines, you need to act accordingly to the word, "responsibly" and when requested by a referee to refrain from something, remember it is a game for the kids. We are in teaching mode at ALL times.

A referee is an individual with a LIMITED skill set and understanding of the LOTG same as anyone on the learning curve of a career. How an individual, particularly a young adolescent or teenager, reacts to an adult acting, in his opinion, irresponsibly, is a reflection of his own strength of character, the understanding and application of the LOTG at wherever on the learning curve he or she is.

I find that warning and expulsions are generated by a continual pattern of behaviour rather than a single incident. However if that incident is SO glaring, something's are what they are! I do not know the exact circumstances surrounding your expulsion, only that you obviously ticked the referee off! Would I send you off for the same thing? No way to tell, possibly I set you straight as to where you can and can not go or say in a polite professional tone or travel the sarcasm and witty reply path where I wind up expelling you and writing down the exchanges in my book!

For a referee to fabricate a story is a HUGE integrity issue! I am loath to think it would be required or acted upon. Not to say a referee can not be an obtuse or thick-headed ninny, we can and do have our own detractors but in his match, his decisions, it is his reputation being formed. Eventually, if there is a continual unsavory pattern, it shows up by the constant stream of input that SHOULD be directed to those who can respond to it!

Yet by your own admission at the lack of officials within your organization, it must reflect the attitude of, "Why Bother?" to be an official, given the abuse that seems to be freely distributed? Arguing a call during a match, then complaining about the lack of those willing to also be engaged in a similar fashion? Seriously? It really sounds as the league you are involved in is not really tight on its priorities and educational programs. Some times, I am doing my best is not cutting it but then how are you doing it better?

The appeal process or protests involve money as a rule, with timelines for filing a grievance and then a long appeal process! Lets say you better feel it is worth it to undertake the process. As a coach I went through several protests, some instituted by me, others against our team, none was pleasant, many unsatisfactorily handled and some leave me shaking my head to this day! In the end we accept the decision and go on or take the ball and go home.

To answer your question 'how is respect for the game enforced?' An individual is accorded a certain stature or degree of respect to hold the position of a referee or coach. Yet respect is an earned commodity! It is always a choice to act responsibly and hold our selves accountable for the actions we take! Integrity is a gift of self respect to ourselves. it cannot be taken, you must give it up.
When we observe obtuse or abusive conduct or witness a display of inadequate knowledge or understanding, unless there is a method in place to effectively monitor, record, report and sanction discipline, it simply fuels further frustration!
I despise fixation on blame! FIX the problem, get together, discuss, most importantly TRULY listen to the concerns all parties bring to the table, set into motion plans that have consequences for unjust or unconscionable actions.


Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 28928
Read other Q & A regarding Character, Attitude and Control

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.