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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34040

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/29/2020

RE: 7 Adult

Mike Dixon of St Albans, Uk asks...

A coach from the sideline is continually questioning your ability , what are your options. If you ask him to leave and he refuses can you abandon the match. Thx in advance

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
The advice can be to to use the Ask Tell Remove process. It has been updated now with the use of cards for technical staff.
# Ask
If a situation arises where there is irresponsible behavior, the referee will generally ASK the coach to stop the unwanted behaviour. Usually the coach is told that if the referee has to return to the technical area it will be a card.
# Tell
If there is another occurrence where there is continued irresponsible behavior, the referee will now inform that coach that he was asked to desist and that as he continued with the behavior which is not permissible he will show a yellow card.
# Remove
If the behaviour continues, the referee will REMOVE that person immediately with a second yellow and a red card.
With the use of cards the process and terminology is now clear in that coaches now know that when they get a caution it is understood this is the same as for players. Same with a red card.
Dissent is a caution, so to become a dismissal another caution event must occur. The referee can if he so wishes move to the Tell phase with an immediate yellow card and no need to use the Ask phase. It is akin to how we deal with players. We might warn the player about dissent and if he does not pay heed it will be a yellow card. We might just go straight to a caution if it warrants same.
“Using offensive, insulting or abusive language and or gestures” and some other behaviors are an immediate red card and do not require the “ASK, CARD, REMOVE” process.
As to a coach refusing to leave the technical area and surrounds of the field of play the referee will inform him that either he leaves or the match does not continue and it is abandoned. Most coaches will not risk an abandonment so they will generally comply with the red card.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mike,
Since team officials can now receive cards, you don't need to just ask them to leave, you can issue them with a red card which means they are required to leave. Of course, this isn't necessarily the first option and ref McHugh has outlined the steps that can be taken in a graduated fashion, leading to an eventual dismissal. If, having been shown the red card however, the individual refuses to leave, the referee can abandon the game, though as ref McHugh further points out, that usually isn't necessary.

The law gives specific definitions of offences that carry a warning, yellow card or red card for team officials, as follows:

The following offences should usually result in a warning. Repeated or blatant offences should result in a caution or sending-off:
• entering the field of play in a respectful/non-confrontational manner
• failing to cooperate with a match official e.g. ignoring an instruction/request from an assistant referee or the fourth official
• minor/low-level disagreement (by word or action) with a decision
• occasionally leaving the confines of the technical area without committing another offence

Caution offences include (but are not limited to):
• clearly/persistently not respecting the confines of their team’s technical area
• delaying the restart of play by their team
• deliberately entering the technical area of the opposing team (non-confrontational)
• dissent by word or action including:
• throwing/kicking drinks bottles or other objects
• gestures which show a clear lack of respect for the match official(s) e.g. sarcastic clapping
• entering the referee review area (RRA)
• excessively/persistently gesturing for a red or yellow card
• excessively showing the "TV signal" for a VAR ‘review’
• gesturing or acting in a provocative or inflammatory manner
• persistent unacceptable behaviour (including repeated warning offences)
• showing a lack of respect for the game

Sending-off offences include (but are not limited to):
• delaying the restart of play by the opposing team e.g. holding onto the ball,
kicking the ball away, obstructing the movement of a player
• deliberately leaving the technical area to:
• show dissent towards, or remonstrate with, a match official
• act in a provocative or inflammatory manner
• entering the opposing technical area in an aggressive or confrontational manner
• deliberately throwing/kicking an object onto the field of play
• entering the field of play to:
• confront a match official (including at half-time and full-time)
• interfere with play, an opposing player or a match official
• entering the video operation room (VOR)
• physical or aggressive behaviour (including spitting or biting) towards an opposing player, substitute, team official, match official, spectator or any other person (e.g. ball boy/girl, security or competition official etc.)
• receiving a second caution in the same match
• using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
• using unauthorised electronic or communication equipment and/or behaving in an inappropriate manner as the result of using electronic or communication equipment
• violent conduct"

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Mike ,
it is always sad when those who claim to love a sport put so much effort into making a match unpleasant. A referee has the authority to remove those who forcibly interject themselves into a match in a way you can not overlook. The new directives of showing cards to non players, to illustrate a change of behaviour is needed, was something that I was glad to see, especially within the recreational grass roots, where far too often adults acted like intimidating banshees screaming at youth referees.

No one is perfect! We all lose out tempers find fault, place blame and generally act like a putz on occasion. I have watched and participated at most every level of football in some fashion, playing, coaching, refereeing even politics of governing and administration. When coaching & playing I endured referees who, if I was assessing their behaviour , position, mechanics and knowledge of the game I likely would fail their sorry butts BUT that does not give me the right to go ballistic or treat them as idiots just because I THINK or feel they are under performing or simply in over their heads! I know with humility and truth I acted as a condescending butt wad with certain individuals when trying to hold it together. With others I was of a more even temperament, but biting the tongue is NEVER easy, just something we must strive to keep in check.

To those referees I inadvertently insulted or argued with I know with absolute certainty that the game is NOT viewed in the same manner when you occupy different perspectives. Be it as a spectator or parent, as a coach or manager, as a player or as a referee! All of these participants, EXCEPT the referee, deal with winning and losing as a battle, be it for victory , keeping their position as a player , coach or manager , the expectations of a parent or a town or a city or a nation weigh heavily on the teams playing in result orientated conditions.

The idea of neutrality is a referee perspective, the idea of an outcome or result is a coach or manager perspective . The idea of fairness and justice occupies the mindset of players who tend to feel the raw edges of emotions. So too spectators and parents who THINK they know what they see as unsafe or unfair. None of those concerns affect the referee who must arbitrarily decide what is called or not called based solely on his or her efforts and the amount of understanding of football in both law and spirit!

.The basic decency of adults trying to remain professional or as I like to say calm, cool and collected is about character and civility. The respect for the position of a referee and for the person themselves, is in part earned but we must also extend respect to the coaches and players KNOWING their abilities are on display as is yours.

A referee has a duty and a mandate for a safe game with the least amount of intervention necessary. When we encounter dissent, derision and hostility we try hard to balance on that tightrope of just how much is really necessary ? Managing a match we do try to abide by the experience all referees shared in and work with the advise we pass on to effectively use the Ask,Tell, Remove process. We can be sympathetic to the needs and emotional balances of those we must calm so they do not over reach their stature . However, NO ONE is above the principle of, "What is good for the game?" A referee should encourage those in conflict to be reasonable, because we take no delight in being forced into positions where we must remove malcontents from the match. As tolerant as one might WISH to be a referee must have the conviction and courage to do what is needed WHEN it is necessary to do so.

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