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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33001

Mechanics 1/20/2019

RE: Under 17

greg of houston, tx usa asks...

i talk a lot as ref when i center. mostly a lot of 'no no no', 'nothing there', 'that's fine that's fine no problem' to call out non-fouls. or if a player tries to complain about something that is't there, i'll call/talk back to him 'what, what do you want? there's nothing!'

is that okay to do as a ref or should i remain silent

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Greg,
For me this is a personal choice - some refs are very vocal, some less so. I don't see too much wrong with being communicative and certainly there is no requirement either in law, or in any guidelines or official advice that I'm aware of, to say that referees should remain entirely silent while play is going on. From what I've observed, top-level match officials are often some of the most vocal. I remember watching a Premier League game where on the coverage at one point, you could clearly hear the AR repeating, 'No foul, No foul,' as two players jostled for possession nearby.

I would say that you should be a little careful about what you say. For instance most of the phrases you mention above are OK, except for, 'what, what do you want?' which comes over as a little bit confrontational for my tastes.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Greg
It is a personal preference and there us nothing *wrong* with communicating with players.
In my games I use 'No Foul, Nothing there', 'Not Deliberate' (handling) many times to convey my decision. It tells that the players that I have seen the incident yet decided that there is no foul. On penalty calls I usually wave the appeal away with a wave of both hands across the body which is a clear signal that I am not awarding it.
When with assistants that is very important. If I have waved away a foul it tells the lead AR that I have seen the contact and decided that there is no foul. The last thing I want is a fluttering flag by the AR for a foul that I may have to wave down.
I recall a game a few seasons ago where it was important to signal my decision. An attacker was stood at the intersection of the goal line and penalty area line shielding the ball. He was challenged by a defender who kicked the ball out for a corner kick. There was a lame appeal for a penalty. There might have been slight contact on the kick of the ball on the attacker yet not enough in my opinion to award a penalty kick for it. I looked at the AR who was undecided and I immediately shouted for a corner kick and dismissed any appeal. At half time the AR told me that he was indeed undecided yet he was swaying towards a PK yet when I made the decision he was okay with that.
Now I agree with Referee Grove on the use of certain sentences. Some can come back to bite the referee or be twisted around as confrontational. I know a number of referees who get involved with the players which is not a good place to be.
Most times the best route can be to say nothing or a simple *No Foul* and move away. I might point at the ball to show that the ball was in fact played.
If the player is dissenting a decision which is different from an appeal then it needs to be dealt with firmly. The issue then is the dissent not the decision. In those instances I either caution straight away for dissent or I inform the player that I am not accepting anymore verbals from him. In those instances I never *justify* the decision yet rather focus on the dissent.
Always remember that players rarely if ever change their opinion of a decision and it is futile to try to change that view.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

It depends on your audience. What you say at U17 may be disastrous at U10 when all the players stop and look at you to figure out what you're trying to tell them. But after you stop play, you may need to tell U10's much more than you'd explain to U17's.

I avoided phrases like, 'Nothing there.' because clearly there was something there. I tried to say 'No foul.' instead.

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