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Question Number: 33329

Mechanics 5/9/2019

RE: Under 18

don of houston, tx usa asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33328

Thank you for the responses. I do agree about not implementing pro style reffing to lower level matches. I tend not to do that very much, I was more speaking specifically to giving out cautions.

before I started regularly watching professional matches, I was barely giving out any cautions in matches I did, just assuming that at the youth level players are just doing 'clumsy' things, even things that were cautionable offenses. Now I can really see what types of UB are getting cautions at the pro level and use that at the lower level matches I do (which are up through U19 competitive youth matches, high school, etc)

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Don,
cautions are rarely mandatory as there is opinion involved in their dispensary necessity yet there has been a concerted movement by IFAB to encourage that cards are to be shown in certain situations which I believe is counter productive not the least was the mandatory caution to a keeper off his line at a PK. The removal of the shirt at a goal is another one I thought rather foolish as it is a morality aspect more than a respect aspect. Although there is the advertising aspect that can be part of the messages displayed in certain cases which is the profit aspect lol

Yet there is also the degree of consistency, we want the games to be played under fair play premises and much effort is expended to try and promote what is cautionable in one match in theory should be cautionable at another. I tend to think that applies to an individual match for both teams than a broad swipe at every team everywhere but there are standards to be applied. At the elite level referees who fail to the do the 'expected' are sanctioned and brought to task.

The difficulty in showing cards is while it is a way of a referee communicating hey guys & gals this behavior NEEDS to stop, it is the players playing who have the ultimate control over their own actions. I recall the card fest debacle of the Portugal /Holland match many years ago where a really decent Russian referee ran afoul of the fouls to the point where the match became almost ridiculous in nature. A series of 16 cautionable events that lead to 2nd cautions for 4 red card send off leading to a gradual deterioration of match ethics where many pointed to the referee as being responsible.

This is complete nonsense, the PLAYERS were ultimately responsible. A referee with integrity calls what he sees , even if he sees it different than a player, coach or fan.

At the time I thought the first caution was very weak and the missed studs up tackle on Ronaldo that 100% should have been a direct red wound up as a very poor caution. I can speculate that if the color red appeared early the teams MIGHT have settled but many of the cautions were directly in response to players CLEARLY acting stupidly and with reckless malice leaving the referee with no option but to intervene.

I refereed matches in Sunday beer leagues for local communities where I was 7 or 8 cautions in or even more with 2 or 3 red cards the cry was, 'you cannot referee like that!' to which I replied,' No you cannot play like this!'

That same weekend I did a men's division A match.

Less than 5 minutes in my first CI or CMI (critical match incident) the local defender reckless slide tackle, slightly late, takes out a visiting attacker at midfield, clearly missed the ball, trips the striker, trying to break down the center. If it was not for the location of the foul and other defenders, almost a red card for DOGSO. I hammered the whistle. Was right there standing over top the tackler, publicly stating, 'No place for tackles like that!' Show the yellow card. NO retaliation DFK taken minimum of fuss. Then about a minute or two later a local player receives a chest throw in from a teammate, ball bounces up and then down to his feet when a visiting player, at a dead run slides in directly from behind with both feet, likely as a response the yellow card tackle earlier but the speed, direction, force and type was DIRECT Red as it takes out both legs and dumps the surprised player in a heap of pain on the ground. My whistle literally near exploded I hit it so hard. The red card was in my hand, I waved the player up as this slide tackle had him on the ground . He made no argument just turned and strode off.

NO retaliation, however as I was writing in my book waiting to see if the injured player could recover or needed medical assistance the visiting Captain made one comment to me made in reference to why not a caution since I only cautioned the home team a minute ago!

I know he had as good a look as I into the tackle so I looked him square into his eyes and stated 'Seriously!' You think that tackle was on par with a legitimate attempt to win the ball? A standing still player, your guy at a dead run, from behind, through his legs, cleans him out, never gets the ball? NOT a chance in hell does that get a pass on my pitch. He averted his eyes and just kind of turned away.

They were the only two cards in that match until a tactical shirt pull late in the second half . In other words the players accepted that I was watching, I would react and were satisfied my responses matched the events. Those watching from a fan stand point, some who were participants in the beer league came to talk to me later and thanked me for protecting them from the silliness of unskilled, out of shape, weekend warriors intent on forgetting that we all worked and needed to get home to our jobs & family safely . The fact is while I love competition, this is a game, it is for fun, it is NOT a war of attrition. I started out as a card happy referee according to some but this time it was the players not me that changed their ways as I needed to show less and less cards as the season progressed!

If there is a talk at the pre game I often request the teams ask me questions if they are unclear on anything but I ALWAYS try to state important concepts in a reasonable but no nonsense manner to set clear guidelines.

If working as a single official I might be going on about offside and look to where I am before raising your hands. I call only what I know to be true,I do no guess or more in depth on substitution issues and ball in out out of play, Play the whistle etc...

A fundamental key for respect be it as a single official or working as a team is effort! If those playing can see your effort to stay with play, to appear to be using your experience they are more willing to accept your decisions than question your knowledge.

I used to use a version of this speech, either as we conducted roster or equipment checks or in my captain meetings at center circle yet some will suggest even this is too abrasive or interfering .

HI guys or gals, Welcome, its a privilege to be part of the beautiful game so thank you!

Fair Play & integrity are observable not by words but by actions. I have no need to interfere in your match if I have no reason to do so! I am fair not perfect. My only promise is I will give you my best effort to get the decisions correct !

My ARS or 4th are 100% untouchable & off limits to any form of harassment by anyone at anytime.

IF there is a problem bring it to me only, if circumstances or time allows I will respond to a reasonable question but understand this! If I say its a done deal, it is. Agree to disagree & move on. We can discuss things after the match over a beer or coffee when we are less emotionally compromised. .

Conduct your substitutions correctly, be at the midfield ahead of the stoppage & wait till called upon to enter!

Lets conduct the restarts as efficiently as possible, this means the team taking them do not waste time or the defending team delays by interfering or not withdrawing to the required distances.

If I yell out , TEN yards! or GET a MOVE on! or BACK OFF now! it is not an intervention, but a warning and may well be the ONLY warning you will ever get!

We have no issue to you using up time per what the LOTG allow but if you try to waste it we will be adding it at the end of each half and those guilty of doing so can expect consequences

We will advise the teams with about 5 minutes remaining as to the approximate added time we will include, but understand, what ever time it is, it will never be less than that and could be more .

Each of us has their own unique character and style so you should only do what you feel comfortable with in interacting with the teams. I have few troubles interacting with sincerity & humor and perhaps my way is more adapt at the recreational level then say at the pro level. I do consider my actions as a form of educational value as well. While I might finish the pre-match talk with the teams or captains itemizing the special competition rules etc.. I always sign off with do you have any questions? Please then, lets all have a good game!

In dealing with youth matches the necessity of showing cards, is sometimes mitigated by the circumstances they play under and the fact as adults we have our presence acting as a deterrent every bit as much as the card itself. It we are in a political phase say a provincial championship to country or world wide competition versus city fun league that caution is more of a certainty for the technical aspects given the competitive significance and scrutiny that match would be under.

In a local area match, two teammates are squabbling, rolling about fighting. The LOTG dictate possibly red card for VC or yellow card caution for USB instead we have the coach substitute both players and leave then on the touchlines for a while. Was this effective? Was it Fair?

Same situation except opposing players? The LOTG dictate possible a red card for VC or yellow card caution for USB instead we have the coaches substitute both players and leave then on the touchlines for a while. Was this effective? Was it Fair?

These teams are playing 2 or 3 games in one day as part of a travel to a third community so the other travel teams need not travel so far. These are fun games and teams have limited rosters. Same on tournaments where over 3 day period a team might be required to play 5 or 6 or 7 times.

There are flagrant actions at 11 side matches that simply cannot be set aside. A two footed jump tackle into the back legs of an opponent be it u-12 u-14 u-19 world cup. that cretin must be sent off shown a red card.

Drag the free alone attacking player down by the shirt in the PA so the shot cannot occur as the Alberta player takes down the BC player in a national u-17 final. The red card for DOGSO is not debatable nor is the PK restart If the BC player turns and starts to fight with the Alberta player. The BC player will likely not be on the pitch at the taking of that PK instead sitting with the sent off player who dragged him down.

A u-12 match tournament defender blatantly stops a shot headed towards the goal with the extended hand, referee does not send off, only cautions, thus no send off, no playing short & said defender scores winning goal. Opposing coach protests claiming it was an unfair result based on the premise (they are only kids is the excuse)? Was it? The claim was the deliberate handling stopped a goal when in fact video evidence showed the ball flight was likely to go wide? If the referee had that opinion that caution would be correct as no goal was being denied.

A keeper runs up and punts the ball from inside the penalty arc, the referee shows a yellow card caution and awards a DFK from the point where the kick occurs at 21 yards out. Not only was the restart location incorrect but so too was the foul itself, in the video CLEARLY showed the keeper had tossed the ball forward thus released it before he stepped outside the PA to kick it.
Then there is WHY would it be necessary to SHOW yellow card at all and not just award a free kick from just shy of the outer edge of the 18 yd PA line as that would be sufficient as the correct restart point and losing possession punishment from a crappy release for actually doing so was never worthy of caution for USB.

Now take a keeper that does this constantly after being repeatedly warned by the AR or CR not to do so, that he clearly was seen to be carrying the ball out prior to releasing it and at first doubtful, then possibly trifling but FAILURE to heed warnings is it now actionable USB misconduct? In my opinion. No, because the keeper is giving the ball to the opposition, giving them a scoring opportunity out of nothing . If it is a CLEAR foul then call it, let the keeper suffer the consequences of foolish action but your irritation of being ignored while it could be a form of dissent what purpose does that caution serve that the free kick would not?

I see I am rambling about here in response to a generalized aspect of the game.
My point is this, what good is a caution? What change is required? What message is heard? Can I achieve match management with my position as referee & my relationship with the coaches, my voice and presence, my use of the whistle, loud, shot, short or long or are cards the only or right tool for the job?

If you have the temperament, you can directly intervene in man management take aside irritated or frustrated players.
You are far too good a player to do this. Your team needs you on the field
Look I could caution you, I sense you are living here on the edge can you reign it in? The coach will have to substitute you but do you want to be out here or over there on the bench?
Smile offer a hand up to a disgruntled player who just tossed his best chance to tie the score over the crossbar Good effort if the damn thing was 6 inches higher.

Cards can be shown quietly, quickly, sternly and reluctantly. The way in how we show a card, our temperament should reflect age, skill, the seriousness, of the situation. Not all are horrific there is humor as well as stern consequence to unreasonable actions. We have no wish to caution for USB or a reckless tackle or send off for SFP or a DOGSO & have them cry, be it u-12 or a ladies friendly competition or have hatred and evil thoughts directed towards us by those non accepting of our decisions. Except that we can not control what they do or think we only respond or act accordingly to their actions and if in violation of the LOTG they cannot be ignored we are forced to act..

You do not have to scream, GO you are banished you evil monster to a mad 11 year old but to a smartalec pipsqueak who thinks backtalk is a worthy pursuit after getting a caution or a talking too. It might not be a terrible thought to give a friendly reminder to the coach that a rest and some meditation might prevent them from playing short handed the rest of the match.

In free kick situations. The dead ball specialist that can bend or turn balls into weird screaming curves loops & dives is remarkable but not something recreational levels have at their disposable or at least not to the same degree. Youth relies on power more than placement so there are those that do no want advantage or a quick kick, just thunder leg Mckurk to take a whack if we are in that 30 yards away area.
Failure to respect the distance & delay restarts . Irritating as hell. The disrespect and non adherence by players in general forced the evolution of foam use and wall mechanics seemingly making a mockery out of a VERY simple premise the defenders have no rights at a free kick situation THEY created because THEY played unfairly then think its ok to force a wall be allowed!

I call these useless cautions in it serves almost a ZERO purpose other than to place that player 1 step closer to being sent off when the need for that tactical foul does truly present itself as a 2nd caution. Occasionally it will give a defending team time to regroup behind the ball and the caution for the delay or non respect of distance might have merit as a tactical ploy to further stop the attack.

Where we seem to have issues is not the obvious non compliant or direct interference but the ball kick away as if oh that was just an instinctive reaction, gradually moving slowly or at weird angles as to cut across flight paths or injuries that must be almost life threatening given the time it takes to recover

Withdraw to a MINIMUM of ten yards, 2 yards at throw ins assuming it occurs from a correct restart point? Thus no more running down the touchlines creeping forward

Now we are to actually punish attackers for being too close to the wall itself that likely NEVER should have occurred at all if the restart was not delayed or interrupted? Tactically I think if the attackers are saying we want the ten yards, thus wanting a wall, the attackers start their own wall at 8 yards then point to the two yards further away behind them for the foam to begin It is bloody annoying to see a referee place a wall at 7 to 8 yards away on pitches with 5 yard line intervals as a guide thinking that this is accordance with the LOTG.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Don
That is good that you are beginning to recognise unsporting behaviour offences that require cards
Now not every USB needs to be a caution. A tug back of a defender going nowhere in his own last third is totally different from a tug back that prevents an attacker from developing a promising attack. Both could be the exact same offence yet one may only merit a card. The trick is to know when it is appropriate for the referee to use a card and how to use the card. The last thing is for a game to be getting up to 8 //10 cautions with no change in behaviour. In those instances the referee has a problem as clearly yellow cards are not working as intended. Players are not heeding the referee so he is not imposing himself on the game by taking control of it.
Now you say that you are barely giving out cards. There is nothing wrong with that if the games are well controlled and played in a good spirit.
For me there is nothing more satisfying in managing a feisty game with few if any cards maybe a max of 2 /4 for stonewall card offences. The role of the referee is to see that the game is played according to the Laws so that he is in the background letting players get on with playing and then stepping in to deal with situations that need to be dealt with. Some incident can be dealt with by a stern talking to while others will require cards.
My advice is to review each game afterwards and assess how well it went. What went well, what not so well. What incidents seemed to change the mood of the game and that can be a reckless foul that went unpunished. It can also be a soft card that required multiple cards also for subsequent soft offences.
I recall a few seasons ago I was doing a game which went very well for 85 minutes with no cards. There was a challenge in the 85 minute that should have been a caution. I said to myself I will let it slide as there is only 5 minutes left. Wrong. The last five minutes descended into a very feisty 5 / 7 minutes requiring multiple cautions and a mellee developed in one instance between players. In hindsight I believe had I gone in with a caution on the challenge it would have headed off or at least quelled what transpired later. The only saving part was that there was only a few minutes of unsatisfactory behaviour to deal with so it was not as if it went on for say half or more of the game.

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