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Question Number: 34722

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 10/3/2022

RE: rec Adult

sal of Chicago, illinois usa asks...

I had a player in a game this weekend who persistently kept yelling handball every time the ball hit an opponents torso. Can this be construed as UB for trying to deceive the referee into calling a handball to regain control of the ball through a free kick?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Sal,
As far as I know being an irritating idiot is not usually card worthy unless you sense a control issue or abusive contempt. Cards are a useful tool to put a halt to undesirable behavior but a simple verbal, request to stop, be quiet and along with a steely eyed stare then indicate he RISKS a caution for constant dissent should be sufficient should be enough to get them to clam up. rather than resort to a weak card caution of embarrassment.

In truth I was never at odds with hard nose players and tough tackles as those I can see and deal with appropriately for me the BANE of refereeing is listening to the eternal whining of useless & irritating unnecessary dissent by some idiot on the touchline or some sullied player on the pitch. A constant whining of handball is certainly a part of it.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sal
Appealing for a decision is not an offence and as a result it will not result in a caution. While it might be irritating I personally would ignore such shouting and in fact it would make me not consider any appeal from that player.

Also if these appeals are ongoing with no decision made by the referee then there may be every chance that it will escalate into dissent which is a caution. I might have a word with the player to tell the player that questioning of calls will not be tolerated and its up to the player to desist.

I once had a senior referee as an assistant in a game I was officiating. At half time he told me that he was getting annoyed with the right winger constantly shouting for the ball and he wanted me to award an IDFK the next time he shouted. I told him that was not going to happen as the player would have to shout in an unsporting manner to merit a card and an IDFK .
So while it might be annoying and frustrating match officials have to operate under the law. An appeal on its own is not USB yet beyond that it is

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Sal,

I think that when it's completely, ridiculously over the top, it certainly could be possible to issue a caution - I'm in 2 minds as to whether it would fall under dissent or USB.

To be clear, these are rare situations - generally speaking, there's nothing wrong with an appeal - even a ridiculous one.

In my 15+ years of refereeing, I've only had one situation where I thought - in hindsight - that I had dealt with excessive appealing. This as an Over 35 game, similiar sort of appeals for absolutely everything that came near the body. The constant appeals reached the point of undermining my authority and I actually had a lot of trouble with that team throughout the match. Sure, I did card for dissent when things escalated - but the match was already gone by that point.

So, how could I have been proactive? A card for the most influential excessive appealer might have done the job - or it could have created a problem where they'd scream for a card every time the opposing team shouted for it so if you are going to card here, you need to be very careful. In saying that, I would have warned before carding.

Perhaps the better situation was to be tougher on anything else. That is to say, the slightest hint of dissent afterwards. So, perhaps if you face this situation again, that could be your focus - let the appealing go, but when he does something else, such as continues, be tough there, and when you're having a word about that, you can let him know 'look, I'm for appealing, but keep it to things that you might have a chance of winning. When you appeal for every touch you're not doing yourself any favours' or however else you want to word it.

In saying that, if it's just one single player, it might not be impacting your control or authority - but just be aware of the risks and if you start feeling discontent rise, this player could be where it starts.

And in saying all that - don't forget that the authority approach is only one tool in our arsenal - is there perhaps some way you can build a rapport with them? If not, it might be worth considering how you respond to appeals. If you normally shout 'No!' or something similiar, perhaps for players like this, might be worth ignoring them completely. Or, if you feel comfortable, poke a bit of fun at the ridiculous appeal - 'come on, really?' 'mate, I can tell you skipped high school biology if you think that's where his head is!' etc. It's all about what works for your personality, and the particular match.

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