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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 32633

Law 18 - Common Sense 8/9/2018

RE: High School

chris of seattle, washington usa asks...

I do not respond at all to dissent by players or coaches. I feel that as a referee, I am expected to receive some level of verbal abuse or language directed towards me. If profanities or direct insults come out, then yes I will discuss that with the player or coach, but otherwise, I do not feel that a player or coach being upset over getting a call/no-call is worthy of some sort of talking to about it, it's part of competition and passion.

I do not respond to spectator comments in any way, shape, or form, as I completely ignore them unless, like with players/coaches, profanities come out, because no one cares what spectators think.

In fact, it is my opinion that these referees who go way overboard in feeling the need to caution players for dissent, lecture or dismiss coaches for questioning of calls, or yell at/kick out spectators for negative comments are the types of referees who give refs overall a bad name as these power-hungry people who try to exert influence over everything. Sure, there are some instances where actions can be justified, but for the most part I feel referees go way overboard with how they handle player, coach, and spectator dissent.

Am I in the wrong here?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Chris
Every referee has a different threshold on what constitutes dissent plus with experience referees may have developed a style for managing pkayers and match control.
Dissent is a public disagreement (verbal and/or physical) with a match officials decision; punishable by a caution and it does not have to include profanities. Examples would be a player slamming the ball into the ground or kicking the ball away aggressively after a decision.
Yes the game needs passion yet that passion needs to be channeled in a positive way rather than haranguing a referee. Some of it is just plain stupid as play nay have already restarted so a change of mind is not possible even if it was an option.
I also believe that all of the players deserve that the game is played in a positive spirit without it being spoiled by a few players who chose to harass and challenge the referee on every decision

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Chris,
it is not wrong to ignore chatter, in that I agree with you, no referee can survive with a thin skin. If you have followed this site over the years you will note I advocate a saying of your match, your decision, your reputation to much of the information or advise I have shared over these many years.

For the most part spectators are NOT a factor unless they intervene DIRECTLY affecting player/match safety. WE do not referee by consensus and if we worry about what those watching are saying or doing you CAN NOT do your job on the FOP. I am aware though that the high school standard of etiquette is higher than conventional soccer at grassroots levels as they consider it part of the class room? I believe there is an expectation of all those in attendance to assist in stamping out abuse!

No two referees are exactly alike and it is far easier to be consistent within the context of your OWN match then trying to duplicate another referee's way of doing things from other matches. Yet your character sounds strong and I like the fact you have the ability to ignore and shed the flack off the armour. You are correct, soccer is a game of passion & it is not without its cries of desire and heartache given both team want a result, whereas a referee has no concern on these matters and is not prone to these outbursts.

Yet I never completely ignore dissent even if I choose not to respond simply because those eyes out there often see the game in a much different light than I do on the FOP. It is not that I concentrate on everything they say but I am well aware that in behind me things occur and that I can miss many things given I must pay attention to the events before me.

When a referee has the game in sync and the temperature and attitudes are like a cup of good coffee, flavored just right, goes down smooth, life is just generally really good. If a yapper is beaking off in a moment of emotional discord it does not undo that soothing feeling . It simply is babble amid the noise of enjoyment.

If you overreact to emotion it tends to generate more! I have in over 40 years never had any truly serious interaction with spectators. An occasional brisk walk to the parking lot with some unruly comments but I never received threatening phone calls or found dog plop on my porch lol

I have had some interaction with a few but it was not for a mild or dissatisfied comment but an egregious action that threatened the match . I even managed to pull a few smiles and have some remain rather than await their departure before we could continue. I generally use the coach to assist rather than direct eye to eye or nose to nose with spectators.

Yes I am sure there are those who are prone to react badly to criticism and their use of cards are more of a resentment then effective man management. Yet there is a prevailing attitude of disrespect sweeping the land and not just on the pitch.

WE here at this site were critical of the WC matches for how the referee was badgered & surrounded on the FOP and the delay of the restarts was intolerable at times! IT is why we were hoping the introduction of the sinbin and the idea of a ten yard advancement could help alleviate much of that unneeded pressure.

No one wants a mini Hitler drunk on power or an over sensitive referee with no backbone handing out cards like confetti but lets put the blame on attitudes and actions of those unrelenting in their discourse where their rights seem to override everyone else's.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Chris,
I believe it is good not to overreact to minor displays of emotion by players but by the same token, not taking the appropriate action against actual dissent is I feel, not doing the game any favours.

Now, it is up to each referee to decide what actually constitutes dissent and the tolerance level can be varied somewhat depending on the game circumstances but I don't think it's advisable to ignore all dissent. Excessive dissent is a blight on the game and as ref Dawson says, some of the displays of it that we saw in the World Cup were truly excessive.

Passion is an integral part of the game but it is possible to have passion and still keep within the bounds of the law.

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