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Question Number: 34572

Mechanics 4/23/2022

RE: Adult

Dom Maunder of Saltash, Cornwall United Kingdom asks...

Why is the arsenal manager, arteta, allowed to spend the whole game outside of the technical area without being challenged by the referee?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Dom
Management of the technical area in the higher level games is the responsibility of the 4th official with instructions from the referee. If the 4th official needs to take disciplinary action it is done through the referee. Instructions / warnings are done by the 4th official who may ask the referee to warn as well.

How that is managed is a matter for that 4th official and it depends on the 4th officials approach to the task. Some adopt a zero tolerance level towards technical staff behaviours while others adopt the view that unless the conduct is having a negative effect of the game then they may be more lenient towards conduct such as minor excursions outside the technical area boundaries.

In this game the referee was Craig Pawson while the 4th official here was David Coote who is a relatively new official to the Premier League referee roster having been added to the list in 2018. He was awarded a FIFA badge in 2020.

Now it would appear to me that PGMOL the PL referee body maybe somewhat laxed about enforcing some of the technical area law. In the recent Arsenal V Watford game Arteta left the technical area to retrieve a ball which resulted in a quick throw in leading to the 3rd goal. It was interesting that the same referee was Craig Pawson. If it was frowned upon in that game by PGMOL sure the referee would have been made aware of that and asked to ensure the conduct is corrected?

Now generally when these events happen it is reviewed afterwards and I suspect when no action was taken that it is somewhat seen as *trifling* or nothing to get concerned about. Former referee Keith Hackett was highly critical of no action being taken by the referee in the Watford game so one would be fairly sure that his criticism would have been picked up by PGMOL the referee body.

As a referee who has been a 4th official in important games and assessed by senior observers I know only too well that even minor breaches can get picked up in an assessment. I was once asked in a semi final game by a member of a technical staff if he could stand to the side of the TA due to difficulty in sitting for long periods which I agreed to and he stood back in the same spot for the 90 minutes just at the side of the covered seated area in line with the seats. It got highlighted in the match assessment and I got marked down for allowing it even though the person never moved or even interfered in any way. I was not happy yet it highlights that if the system does not want something to happen it can ensure that it doesn't. I would be politely saying to the next person/s in any future games that asked to stand that they need to move away and go behind the barrier away from the TA,

In 2014 the League Managers Association commissioned a report into conduct in technical areas. That report highlighted that the most common offence is verbal abuse of match officials while it also stated that a number of match officials are unsure of the rules dictating what is/ is not deemed responsible behaviour in technical areas.
Since then the Laws have been amended to provide guidelines to officials at to what should be warned and what should be cautioned so the uncertainty should have been removed.
The current advice in the Laws state that if a member of the technical staff occasionally leaves the confines of the technical area without committing another offence that should result in a warning. On the other hand technical staff who clearly/persistently do not respect the confines of their team’s technical area or who deliberately enter the technical area of the opposing team even in a non-confrontational manner should be cautioned.

So for what it is worth my guess is that match officials are only sanctioning technical staff who act in an obtuse irresponsible manner rather than those who simply fail to stay within the confines of their area. That could be the accepted approach which is at odds with the Laws. Your guess is as good as mine and we are not a party to that so we just observe the same as everyone else and try to interpret what has happened.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Dom,
As my colleague ref McHugh points out, it's actually the job of the 4th official to monitor the technical area and inform the referee of any irresponsible behaviour by the technical area occupants. So one has to suppose that the 4th official in this game did not find the behaviour you describe as sufficiently irresponsible to warrant informing the referee.

Now, as ref McHugh also mentions, the law does say that a team official who occasionally leaves the confines of the technical area without committing another offence, should be warned and that if they do so clearly and persistently they should be cautioned. So if a manager was out of his technical area as consistently as you describe, then it is a little of a mystery why he was not at least warned.

About the only conclusion I can come to is to once again agree with my esteemed colleague that the PGMOL referees are turning a bit of a blind eye to such behaviour, for whatever reason.

I would also have to say that it's not the only part of the law that they seem to apply in a somewhat lax manner, dissent and delaying the restart of play being a couple of the others.

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