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Question Number: 32788

Character, Attitude and Control 10/10/2018

RE: Adult

gary of nashua, nh 03060 asks...

Had an instance in a coed adult game in which a defensive thin tall player charged a very burley player from behind (25 to 35 degrees) with his head leading. Offensive player fell forward but kept ball, seeing he was near goal, I allowed play to continue, he scores. Several players protest that since that defensive player is now bleeding, its proof a foul occurred on him. Lead to red card for Abusive language towards myself. Seeing this was indoor coed, they of course tried to use this evidence against me to the organizer in charge. A suggestions for fending off a mass protest? I had to deliver the game slips and at that time several player stayed behind and went as far as to say the offensive player struck the defensive player. The team that scored from the situation completely understood the call.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Gary
Bleeding by a player is not ANY proof that a foul has been committed on the player. Far from it. A defenders heads an attacker in the back of the head while challenging for the ball and cuts himself, is a foul against the defender and indeed if it was reckless it can also be a caution for USB.
As to your description it is entirely plausible and I would fully expect that any organiser would see this for what it is. Obviously the goal had to be scored immediately after the foul as extended play with an injury to a player involving bleeding would require the game to be stopped reasonably quickly. An immediate goal usually achieves that though.
I once encountered that as an AR with the conceding team claiming a head injury after a clash of heads and the ball was kicked instantly into the goal by the fouled against player. The game could not have been stopped any quicker than the goal.
So without seeing it I cannot really comment and I suppose what you need is reassurance on this.
As my good colleague Referee Dawson is fond of saying Your Game Your call Your reputation
When I go home after a game I am none too bothered what anyone thinks or says. The calls I make are always in good faith in what I see and I am always contents that I did the best in the circumstances based on my view from where I was positioned along with my knowledge of the laws. Others can see it differently and so be it. That though does not change my opinion of my decision making and that I am content in myself. I have never made a decision that was in bad faith and that is a source of reassurance for me.
Above all things else it is vital that referees retain integrity, consistency and uniformity.
I hope that helps

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone


What rules does the coed league use? Are there additional league rules that may govern this situation? For example, if this was a game played under high school rules where safety takes priority, if a player is bleeding, the game is to stopped immediately; the position of the ball or what may happen is not a consideration.

In doing research for my book, 'Co-rec Intramural Sports Handbook', I found coed leagues with rules that required the stoppage of play when a player was hurt. The reason for these rules, I believe, is because many coed leagues are conducted for recreation of participants, and winning or losing are of second consideration. However, this is not always the concern of the participants who most often place winning as a top priority.

If there were no safety rules guiding your situation, it appears that you made a good call, are satisfied with it, and as referee McHugh indicates, that is of most importance.

I hope that you have a very enjoyable and satisfying fall officiating season.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Gary,
it is never a good thing to have an injury but as a proof of a foul it is not, only proof there may have been a collision of sorts. You can only make a call based on what you see.

You do not say, but it appears you were thinking it was a foul by the defender & you played advantage so as to benefit the attacker? They scored, the defending team did not accept your decision thus dissent & abuse .

It COULD be the attacker cocked an elbow or hand slap that went unnoticed , it could be they clashed heads , but whatever caused it, you are uncertain, thus you can not effectively make a neutral call.

The ability to agree to disagree is not one emotional individuals find easy to subscribe to. Try to keep the trouble in front of you with your ARS to either side in behind use the hand up stop signal and warn players not to get too close. 'I saw the push by the defender. I did not see the strike or contact as a retaliatory reaction by the defender so sorry if I missed it but that is it! Get the kick off to occur as quickly as you can to focus off the event.

I have had the occasional issue with touchlines seeing an event occur from a much different perspective. A parent even wanted to fight me at match end for not calling a blow to the mouth area of a young lady who RAN into the defender in front of her.

I agree 100% with my colleague Ref McHugh we know we do the best we can, we know we do not deliberately try to favor one over another so we are usually unconcerned by the thought processes of those that are not walking in our shoes. If you were unaware the defender was hurt & bleeding to where if the ROC stated play needed to be stopped that is just tough luck. If you saw and ignored it then that is on you.

You can not referee to please everyone ,you ref as a neutral party using your experience, knowledge of the LOTG and showing all a decent effort to do the best job you can. Mistakes happen, people see things differently based on their perspective, knowledge, line of sight and emotional connections. A referee with integrity simply sees what he sees.
Good luck, develop a thick skin & stay true to the spirit & LOTG

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