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Soccer Rules Changes 1580-2000

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Question Number: 34578

Mechanics 4/27/2022

RE: Competitive

Peter Babbage of Hjorring, Denmark asks...

I am seeking clarification regarding sanctions to the manager/coach. Should the first time you go over to warn him that he is over stepping the mark be a verbal warning or a yellow card?So assuming you issue a yellow card must the next sanction be a red card even if this next show if dissent is relatively minor. Can you still go over to tell him to stop protesting with just a verbal warning?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Peter,
the LOTG state that a manager/coach should conduct themselves in a reasonable manner. They are requested not to wander outside the technical area too much and refrain from yelling abuse or voicing their displeasure with too much ferocity.

There is a threshold that we refer to as the 3 Ps!
Public, persistent & personal!

We get that the emotional levels of a highly competitive environment can be volatile given the expectations and pressure many high-level team officials endure!
WE are certainly not expecting church sermon quietness.
A referee can overlook a certain amount of berated admonishments & dissent with a warning or a stern look that enough is enough.
Knock it off not everything is going to go your way!
So a verbal warning is not a GUARANTEE of a caution.

Every reaction to a dissenting action has a trigger mechanism of tolerance or unacceptable obtuse behavior. We always seek to diffuse the pressure without compromising our integrity, and principles or allowing it to undermine the safety of the match Mind you if the situation jumps into DEFCON 3 immediately, well there are consequences and our patience is limited!

We also have a mechanic to approach the escalation in a calm but very strict manner.
The first stage is a simple request! Sir, I am ASKING can you please calm down! That conduct or language is not acceptable
If it escalates Into the 2nd stage, Sir I am now TELLING warning you that conduct or language is not allowed! Stop or there will be consequences!
The 3rd stage is where we show the card to caution and if repeated another caution and the red sleigh appears.

Mind you the red sleigh can appear if the actions warrant such an approach. Accountability respect and an understanding the principles of FAIR PLAY and sportsmanship extends to EVERYONE on or off the FOP!

The 4th officials generally are given instructions to deal with the technical areas ! To have a CR intervene means something has escalated past what the 4th deems reasonable.

This is not the same as grassroots where we often referee as a single official, then it takes a pretty loud. obnoxious and belligerent coach to get us to sit up and take notice!

It is BEST, if you verbally warn or do caution, that you avoid declaring directly it WILL be a caution & or send off for the next occurrence to give you some wiggle room if as you say its grumbling irritation not a public flaying or persecution!

I personally have a pretty thick skin and discerning rabbit ears but certain words and certain actions in a continuous theatre of abuse can not be permitted or endured without the showing of the appropriate coloured card and stringent verbal warnings.
Your Match. Your Decision. Your Reputation!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Petr
Thanks for the follow up.

There is no definitive answer here and like much of the laws there is discretion afforded to the referee in disciplinary matters unless of course the referee instructions from the relevant referee body is otherwise.

So for me I would treat the manager much like a player on the field of play. Sometimes a player will get an immediate card while other times a public warning may be issued. Case in point is dissent. If say a players verbally dissents a decision in a non aggressive manner I probably would have a public word with the player rather than an immediate caution. On the other hand the player shouts aggressively and kicks the ball away the player is going to get a card for dissent.

Same can be true for a manager. I may go across to a manager and advise that I do not need any further questioning of decisions or outbursts from the technical area. A repeat of the behaviour may result in a card. If however the conduct cannot be ignored as it has expletives and obtuse behaviour then it is an immediate card. I know other referees who if they have to go across to a coach a card will be issued.

I am reminded of an incident in a game where I was brought across by an assistant to have a word about the conduct of two players who were pushing each other and generally engaging is gaming each other. I spoke to and warned both players. In the observer's match debrief I was marked down for not cautioning both players after being brought across even though the AR did not request cautions. The observer's opinion was that if a referee is coming across its a card! I would not agree with that yet I would be clearer with my instruction to ARs the next time which would be sort it out yourself and if you are bringing me across its a card!
I watched Referee István Kovács caution Pep Guardiola in the CL semi final between Man City and Real Madrid. Guardiola could be seen shouting at the AR about a throw in decision that went to RM plus the 4th official came forward to calm matters. I suspect that as the referee came across to the technical area it was going to be a card rather than a talking to and that may be the instructions at that level.

I watched a referee in a recent game go across to a coach, early in the first half, to warn the coach about shouting in and questioning decisions. That was okay and the coach was relatively calm / quiet until late on when the referee had to go back to the technical area to caution the coach for dissent. As he was walking away the coach made an unpleasant comment which resulted in a 2nd caution and a red card. Interestingly I saw another referee in a game a few weeks earlier caution the same coach early on in that game and that was the end of the matter as the coach knew that if he spoke out of turn again he was going to get dismissed. Perhaps in the red card incident if the referee had cautioned on his first interaction then he could have avoided the incident near the end of the game? Your guess is as good as mine although I think the earlier caution would have set the bar of zero tolerance much like the other referee's approach.

For what it is worth I like many referees managed games without cards for technical staff. I spoke to some coaches about their conduct which was to ask them to calm down. That always worked as I did not ever have to send off a technical staff member after speaking to them. Speaking to them was technically the same as a caution as they knew that if I was coming back that action was going to be taken. My approach was always to ASK to desist from the behaviour rather than get to the TELL part which is a caution.

In summary it is very much up to the referee. Some can use the ASK, TELL, REMOVE approach which is a caution for a return visit to the technical area after asking to desist while others can go straight to TELL and a caution. It very much depends on the circumstances and what the referee believes what is the best decision for the game.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Peter,

Treat it like you do with managing player dissent, in a way.

If the first instance completely crosses the line and requires a card, then give it. The verbal warning is useful when they're pushing the line and heading towards the card, and its goal is to get them to correct their behaviour before they've crossed the line into needing a card.

Similarly, if you've shown a yellow card already and they continue to push the line you can follow up with a verbal warning......but I think it would need to be pretty minor to not warrant the second card.

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