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Question Number: 32665

Character, Attitude and Control 8/22/2018

RE: Competitive Adult

Bob of Sydney, NSW Australia asks...

Our referee coach has issued the following direction to all referees in our organisation. Im quite nervous about implementing it. I understand the sentiment but can think of so many scenarios that would be unfair to the Captain. Can you give me your opinion, thanks.

If you hear dissent Y2 offence by any player and you are unsure who said it, but know what team it was. You can say to the team players who made the comments, if no one owns up to the dissent. I will/can caution the captain for lack respect for the game on behalf of his team Y1 offence.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Bob,
cannot say I like it!
I think to single out the captain is wrong!

First off, how can we be sure a player is the one dissenting?
I hear plenty of crap along the touchlines where I could not be certain just who said what. But if the climate of a match is such that these comments are ongoing best learn to referee in a different manner

I support the idea of sin bins where we can not be so strict in sending off but awarding timeouts to cool down.
Perhaps a team foul like in basketball could be arranged. The league could read the match reports for this type of conduct and FINE the team in general but to directly award the captain what COULD be his 2nd caution resulting in a send off is simply wrong & contrary to the LOTG ! Bad advice I would look to other means. I prefer to co operate with the captains in a match not offer them up for sacrifice.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bob
The first question a referee has to ask himself is whether it is dissent or not and if it is from someone that cannot be identified then should it be sanctioned.
I personally would never caution the captain for the transgression of others and neither would I ask a captain to offer up the name of a player that I could not identify myself.
So while the referee observer might be well minded the reality is that the *advice* is not required if the referee is on top of dissent by paying attention to the dissent situations.
My experience is that dissenters are usually easily identified in fact most are on the referees' case in a public way. The ones that do prove difficult can be among the substitutes when it is very difficult to identify the offender when the shout comes from the group. A referee though if he bides him time and pays attention to the technical area will identify the dissenter.
The other significant part for me is if the captain gets a second caution the sending off report will read in my opinion contrary to the Laws of the Game. The Laws tell us the team captain has no special status or privileges but has a degree of responsibility for the behaviour of the team. The degree of responsibility does not extends to getting a caution for the actions of others. What happens if the captain genuinely does not know?
So for me it is poor advice and not thought through if supported in Law. With good mechanics the matter should not even arise.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Bob,
That's concerning.
Cautioning the captain because an unknown person in the team dissented is absolutely NOT supported by the laws. I can see what they're trying to do, but this directive contravenes the LOTG. The captain certainly hasn't committed dissent here, and I see no argument to say that the captain has committed a serious breach of the laws warranting a caution for Unsporting Behaviour.

I would imagine a lot of referees would choose to exercise their discretion in not considering such comments worthy of a caution, those don't have to single out the captain!

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