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Question Number: 34149

Mechanics 3/8/2021

RE: Competitive Under 16

Matt of Bristow, VA USA asks...

Not a question but more of a statement on the necessity for consistent, proactive officiating. I am in no way faulting the center referee for his actions because I likely would have done the exact same thing. However, having seen this, I think I learned better how to handle it. When I first started refereeing, I applied something that I learned on your website nearly every weekend. My hope is that some referee will do the same and maybe avoid what happened in our match.

As an AR for a match this weekend, the red team was continually delaying restarts. The center asked and told and issued a yellow card but the behavior continued. The referee decided he had 'reached his limit' and issued another card the next time it happened. However, the next time it happened it was blue player who committed the offense. It should be noted that the blue team was down by one goal with 10ish minutes left in the match so they were not 'wasting time.' The blue player was rightfully frustrated by the actions of the red team and having seen a lack of clear action decided to do the same thing. He was wrong and deserved a card however, the coach was somewhat justifiably upset.

The problem is that now the blue player gets a card the first time he committed the offense however, the red team got away with it 10+ times earlier in the match.

Also, tournament rules dictated that there was no time to be added.

At that point, there was nothing the center could or should have done differently. However, earlier in the match PERHAPS, more decisive action could have been taken that would have avoided the situation entirely.

As a referee crew, we need to ensure that it doesn't get to that point. While we don't need to jump on a player for standing 8 yards away on a DFK, the player who comes in and stands 2 yards away while you are already backing the wall away or the player who grabs the ball after committing a foul and only returns it to the kicking team once he's in position should be sanctioned much more quickly. That should be a team Ask, Tell, Do (at most) not an individual Ask, Tell, Do. Also, I think this is something that should be brought up in the pregame with the captains. If you don't ask them to respect the distance at that point, it's much more difficult to take more 'aggressive' action early in the match.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matt
Thanks for the observation and the comment
Unfortunately delaying the restart of play has become the bane of the modern game and it is now a coached tactic of getting a player in front of the ball to delay the restart.
All teams do it and they do it because the misconduct is not properly dealt with by referees and also that there is no immediate desire to get on with play. Indeed I have witnessed players already on a caution doing this and obviously they seen nothing in their actions that is going to draw a 2nd caution. In many ways that tells its own story in that many referees just let it slide and also many times the kicking team wants to set up a free kick rather than getting on with play immediately.
In your example in a fixed time tournament game the referee needed to be on the case of the players who were DTROP and in a very public way and with early cautions as required. Waiting until deep in the game with some 10 to 12 incidents not being dealt with is just too long.
As described the action by Blue was one of dissent rather than DTROP and that's a decision for the referee. . Personally if I have let multiple such incidents go unpunished I would not be cautioning a player on the losing side for DTROP as his action is punishing his own team in a fixed time game. We have all seen losing team players kick the ball away on say an offside and in those instances I see the player just wasting his own teams time.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Matt,
the learning process of officiating should be enjoyable and if properly done. a shared process. We not only improve our management skills and understanding of the game by post-game analysis but in doing so are actively contributing to the benefit of others if they choose to use the gems exposed in retroflection. I agree 100% with my colleague, the players' impact on the game to delay, dissent, and irritate not only the officials but fans as well.

Each referee has certain characteristics which are necessary integrity & courage among others which can be effective or cause them issues:

-Sense of humor is good but a failure to take the job seriously may not be.

-Commanding demeanor is good but being overly officious can lead to problems.

-Approachable demeanor can be great but you can not get bogged down in a discussion at every stoppage.

-Good work effort stay with play sell your decisions, just wandering around at midline you beg to be disputed!

Cards are a tool to manage a game, just as is your body language, the whistle, and your tone of voice. So too is the pre-game and possibly your reputation. Players and coaches might claim they appreciate consistency but will still go nuts if you make a call they do not like or the necessity of why you as a referee choose any disciplinary action they fail to understand. The ability to agree to disagree is not always an easy sell.

During the ID/equipment inspections.

Make a point of mentioning some 1/2 dozen basic principles

Hi, my name is ?? I will be your referee for this match. I am not perfect but I am fair!

I promise to respect your efforts & give you my best effort.

My ARS are 101% off-limits to ANY abuse!
If there is a problem that you could bring it to me in a respectful manner & at a proper time I could l give it consideration but once I indicate that is enough, we can agree to disagree, but we get on with it!
Are we clear?

Do NOT attempt to delay opposition throw-ins or free-kick restarts & you best be respecting the distance at every restart or there could be harsh consequences!
Are we clear?

-Substitutions: are unlimited but usually only 2 or 3 at a time
All substitutes are at the midline ready to enter BEFORE the stoppage occurs.
Substitutions are permitted on any of their own restarts or if the other team is also substituting or if I decide there is a reason to go or not to go. I will yell SUB and the ARs will raise their flags accordingly.
Those players being substituted please raise your hands & step off the FOP at the nearest touchline or goal line to be identified that you have left the FOP. Once the players are off ONLY then do we signal substitutes to enter the FOP. I will restart with a whistle upon the completion of substitutions. I will signal approximately 5 minutes before the end of each half if adding time & or to allow for substitutions penalty takers in the event of a tie.
Are we clear?

-Specialty tournament rules that might need an explanation!
As in no time is added in the match so please make every effort to get on with play quickly or there could be harsh consequences!
10-minute sin bin substitution exceptions on caution yellow card or injury substitute can enter directly off the bench at the nearest point

Before I go are there any questions? Is there ANYTHING I can clarify for you? Handling? Offside? Are we all good?
Thank you have a good game!

To address your concern about the fairness of establishing criteria for BOTH teams! When I use the quaint saying, Your match, Your decision, Your reputation! Things like these are the magic moments piling up to give you that last part of the equation. My thought are, if you give team A 10 chances sorry but you better give team B 10 chances. You cannot successfully sell a call of the frustration of failure to listen by red then destroy blue? How can you possibly endure ten trips by one team then only punishing the 1 trip by the other because you punished the 11th trip?

It is best to give yourself options rather than back yourself into corners where to save face you follow through on DO that I WILL do this because now I MUST!! a forced reaction like the one you are describing.

Your willingness to support your CR is commendable but even if we accountability and consequences to blue's actions in an emotional time-limited match who set the stage for the conduct? You do not redeem yourself by blaming players for reacting to how your CE chose to referee a match. Being correct in law I see no functional use of spirit or common sense here. I sense from your post you grasp this which is why it bothers you. Absolutely the fairness pendulum was allowed to swing way too far to one side! You will not likely do the same given you recognized just how it did affect the perceived neutrality of the officials!

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