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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 33365

Law 8 - The Start and Restart of Play 5/20/2019

RE: Elite Girls MA Under 16

Todd Nicholson of Norwood, MA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 33330

In game this weekend I use a version of noted pregame talk and state that I want 'both teams to respect all free kicks and quickly back up to ten yards. Do not attempt to delay the start of a free kick by jumping up close to the attacking player.' 75% of one team smirked and looked at their coach.
Good soccer throughout first half, no issues. In second half a foul called and direct kicked warranted. Coach yells a players name and two players jump two yards in front of the attacker who is settling ball for free kick. Using gradual approach I say, 'Ten yards. Back it up now. Do not delay the restart.' They comply. Player takes kick.
Coach yells out to me: 'that's not in the rules, Ref!' I say, 'Yes it is.' (Wish I would not have spoken.) Coach repeats himself, 'Hey ref, that's not in the rules!!' I say, 'yes it is.' He yells.. 'They can stand there! It's not in the rules!' I let play go on, and ignore this..

I am now thinking they will be cautioned if it happens again. Which it did not. But my question is more about the coach. What to do in this situation? He is undermining my position, and questioning, for all to hear, my awareness and grasp of the LOTG. Are there good words to say to a coach? Or is ignoring in this instance a better approach. Coach did not come to shake hands with refs after game. His team lost 1-0.


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Todd
Lets take the easy bit first. The coach for whatever reason chose not to shake hands. So be it. Common courtesy and sportsmanship says that everyone including the referee in the game deserves respect. He chose otherwise so no big deal. While we like to be shown respect it is harder to be good loser than a good winner. The coach showed he was a sore loser. I did a game recently an none of the losing team shook hands with the referee crew. We had no impact whatsoever in the loss as there was no decisions that we made that had any impact on the result. Anyway water of a ducks back as they say. Next
As to the mechanics my advise is not to get involved in a verbal tennis match with a coach on the sideline. I know it is difficult and we have all had 'words' with coaches yet my advice is to try to blank this and certainly not engage in verbal ping pong. It is difficult to do yet the whole purpose of the shouting is to get a response. No response is actually better.
If it persists then my advice is to go across to the coach and use the Ask, Tell, Remove approach by telling him quietly that it is not acceptable to question referees decision. From next season on it will be a caution / yellow card so coaches get treated like players / substitutes.
Now it sort of interests me as to why the coach thinks it is acceptable for players to stand in front of the ball particularly when the players have been requested to move by the referee? I suppose if he thinks that no amount of persuasion is going to change that. and certainly not one liners

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Todd,
It is a pet peeve of mine that delaying free kicks and failure to respect the distance is in fact a coached tactic as well as mythologized by professional referees extending the foam and ceremonial aspects almost to a ridiculous point. A foul is a unfair act designed to stop the opposing teams attack. A FREE kick, optimal word is free, was to replace this lost opportunity. The defenders have only 1 duty and that is to withdraw a MINIMUM of 10 yards. If I am forced to pace it out in the form of ceremonial kick because one team or the other is farting around delaying or disrespecting my strides are every bit a meter or more in length. We can caution those who are delaying or disrespecting but when they are lined up 12 to 15 yards away in a wall they start realizing the distance is every bit of ten yards or more they start whining, 'Ref we are back too far ref? Oh no, I reply , its ten yards minimum, there is no maximum distance. My options allow me to to caution show yellow cards to those that delay or disrespect & set a wall a minimum of ten yards if I choose to permit a free kick to be ceremonial in nature. Because the wall issue was allowed to be so poorly managed for so long FIFA/IFAB went to another goofy extreme by claiming we must now caution attackers who are embedded in the wall if the wall is composed of more than 4 defenders.
My suggestion to referees is enforce the LOTG when they blatantly delay or disrespect. My suggestions to the defenders get the hell out of the way!
My suggestion to the players of the attacking teams that wish to take ceremonial free kicks is to immediately set their wall at 9 yards away from the ball. Allowing the referee the 1 yard in behind to run his at MINIMUM 10 yard foam line.
Once you so graciously provided a warning (That is not required under the LOTG) THAT was a courtesy on your part to advise them of your tolerance level. . The players are made aware of YOUR expectations, the coach is dead wrong and is engaging in unreasonable behavior! You can ignore him if the players are not picking up on his cues over yours but a caution to a player for obeying the illegal instructions if the coach should drive home the message not to fuss over free kicks. If it escalates or becomes a headache that must be dealt with use the ask tell goodbye notification system when they harangue over silly stuff. Apparently next season coaches are to be shown cards as well, treated as if a player was being disrespectful . Given that is often a coaches demeanor in referee confrontations to be obtuse I sense referees will be reluctant to do so at first as I doubt the coaches will be able to stop yapping their discontent.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Todd,
You say your main concern is how you deal with the coach. According to the Laws of the Game, the referee has the authority to:

''take[] action against team officials who fail to act in a responsible manner and may expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds''

Now, you obviously don't want to go straight to the 'nuclear option' of dismissing the coach the first time they act irresponsibly (unless the behaviour is particularly outrageous) but I don't think you should necessarily just ignore it either - although of course you can, if it's something fairly innocuous. This is where the Ask, Tell, Remove technique mentioned by ref McHugh comes in. Although no longer being issued or updated, the old USSF Advice to Referees had a good description of this as follows:

''The 'Ask, Tell, Remove' process is recommended for all officials to follow regarding conduct by team officials:
- Ask
If a situation arises where there is irresponsible behavior, the official (referee, assistant referee, or fourth official) should ASK the person(s) to stop.
- Tell
If there is another occurrence of irresponsible behavior, the official should inform that person that the behavior is not permissible and TELL them (insist) to stop.
- Remove
If irresponsible behavior continues, the referee must REMOVE that person immediately.''

As ref McHugh also mentions, from next season it will be permissible to show yellow and red cards to team officials so I suppose the technique then will be more like: Warn, Caution (YC), Dismiss (RC).

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