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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34410

Mechanics 11/7/2021

RE: Under 17

Mark of eugene, or usa asks...

Had a situation this weekend where a coach on the sideline was doing a lot of whistling to get his players' attention. Other coach complained that the whistling was distracting players thinking it was my whistle. Talked to the coach and for the most part he stopped and even apologized the times he would whistle, but I want to ask you guys how to handle this in the future?

I know that a coach continually disregarding simple reminders a referee gives if given repeatedly can result in a caution, but would this fall under that consideration? I would have felt very awkward cautioning a coach for this, but perhaps whistling to get attention in a game where a whistle denotes a foul shouldn't be allowed anyway.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

hi Mark
Whistling in a soccer match is not a smart way for a coach to get attention particularly when it causes the opponents to complain to the referee. I have never come across this as most know that whistling is the reserve of the referee.

As to how to handle this I would do what you did which is to speak to the coach and ask him to desist by informing him that it is distracting the opponents. How that is done is a matter for the individual referee and how it sits with his personality. Some will be sharp with the coach with an instruction followed by informing him that if he does not desist that it will be a caution.

Others may use a more softer approach along the lines that the opponents are complaining about the whistling and it is not helping the game so it would be helpful if he did not whistle maybe even making a joke of it.

I would use the latter approach by saying something like "Hey coach I need your help. I know you want to get the attention of your players yet I'm the only guy here with a whistle. The opponents are none too happy about this whistling as it is distracting so it would be great if you would not whistle to get attention. Are we agreed on that?"" He will have to say yes.

The approach as well will be dictated by the attitude of the coach. If he is the agreeable type it won't be an issue and the latter approach works. However if he is sharp and belligerent then the response gets treated in kind with an instruction followed by the threat of a card.

If a referee asks someone on the roster to desist from doing something and it is repeated then that is a caution for USB. If I asked a coach to stop whistling and he did not stop then its a card.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Mark,
As you say in your question, "a coach continually disregarding simple reminders a referee gives if given repeatedly can result in a caution." I think that is the correct principle to apply here.

Obviously you wouldn't caution the coach on the very first occurrence but you are right that if they persist in undesirable (and potentially unsporting) behaviour even after having been warned then that can lead to a yellow card.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Mark,
whistling as two fingers or actual pealess whistle?
No coach can justify using a whistle to convey information.
I have seen an odd coach whistle trying to get the attention of a player who seemed to be in la la land. A warning to desist, a card shown if he does not. This should not be too difficult to get the message across

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