Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

Previous You-Call-It's

VAR (Video Assistant Referee)

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Determining the Outcome of a Match
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef

Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

Panel Login

Question Number: 33722

High School 10/21/2019

RE: High School Under 19

Jason C of La Crosse, WI USA asks...

Two issues I am wondering about - taunting and contact after the play that maybe does or does not rise to the level of VC.

I recently disqualified a HS player for taunting. (NFHS has a special rule covering taunting not found in the IFAB rules - 12-8-2b). He combined verbal taunting (look at the scoreboard), along with some theatrics, while doing so in a very loud and ostentatious manner that everyone could see and hear, and while also delaying his substitution off the field. I felt fine about showing a red card.

1. Where is the disqualification line under the NFHS rules for taunting. If it's kept private between two players and is merely 'you guys suck'... seems harsh to red card this with no warning.

2. For IFAB rules, how much jawing/teasing/taunting should I allow in a competitive game of 16 years olds? I usually take a very hard line on this in the rec league games with the younger kids, and play deaf at the older/more competitive levels.

The other issue is the elbow/shove/kick-out between two players post-challenge after the ball is well gone. I'm talking 3-5 seconds after the ball has left the vicinity of the players and they are jogging together in the direction of play. I had a chippy game with a lot of this kind of thing, and I used yellow cards, citing unsporting behaviour. I did have one where there was a trip in retaliation for a shove. The tripped player fell and claimed injury. Yellow cards for both.

Is the standard for VC you use striking with hand/arm and/or excessive force? I ask because I noticed in the pro game the lightest possible head-butt will draw a red for VC, and head-butting is not mentioned in the laws.

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

What you indicated concerning the verbal antics of the player could definitely be considered taunting as it was meant to degrade you as the referee and as indicated in NFHS Rule 12-8-2e, taunting includes word or act to incite or degrade an opponent, coach, referee or other individual. A red card , as you indicated, was merited.

As for the contact after the play, if it is not violent contact, you can give a caution for reckless play. This would require the player to leave the game and be in jeopardy of a second caution which would then result in a disqualification.

I hope that you are having a successful season and get to work in the WIAA championships at Uhlein Park.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe Manjone

View Referee Joe Manjone profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

The Laws of the Game tells us that violent conduct is an action, which is not a challenge for the ball, which uses or attempts to use excessive force or brutality against an opponent or when a player deliberately strikes someone on the head or face unless the force used is negligible.
So a referee would be entitled to dismiss a player for an elbow, kick out etc. at anyone. The referee could also deem that the action was a trip, push and it did not involve excessive force yet instead it was negligible which can be a caution / yellow card for unsporting behaviour
So there is a scale of force and the difficulty can be the grey area in the middle. Sometimes there is a fine line for the referee to judge on in that grey area.
As to taunting the Rules tells us that it is the use of word or act to incite or degrade an opposing player, coach, referee or other individual. Now for it to be sanctioned it has to be heard / seen by the referee. It is somewhat comparable to offensive, insulting or abusive words or gestures in FIFA which has to be witnessed by the referee to act on it.
Now many team sports have what some term as sledging. Sledging is a term originally used in cricket to describe the practice whereby some players seek to gain an advantage by insulting or verbally intimidating the opposing player/s. Most if not all times these are private conversations and while a player may complain to a referee there is little the referee can do as it is never public. All the referee can do is say that he will pay close attention to the players conduct and listen out for such going forward. I am aware that some of theses incidents have been reported by teams yet difficult to prove due to independent witness such as a referee report.
Where the words are public it is up the referee to decide if the tone, context, manner all contribute to being offensive, insulting and abusive. A player saying you guys suck with a grip of a players shirt and a swear word throw in in an aggressive manner will draw a different response than two players trading silly talk with each other. It is up to the referee to opine if it is a red card or a yellow

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 33722
Read other Q & A regarding High School

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.