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Question Number: 21097

League Specific 4/7/2009

RE: Under 7

Joseph of Newberry, FL USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 21084

Thank you for the responses. This does not exist often, and unfortunitely, I will have need to deal with it again for the next several weeks with the same team. I understand that it is not a foul according to the rules, but I agree that it is unsportmanlike behaviour which could cover many opinions.

The ball usually ends up out of bounds, so it would end up being a throw in. At the same time however, that I am cautioning the players that they can not tackle or slide from behind. Since it is considered dangerous to an opponent, than it is also dangerous to one's team mate. I understand that it is not a foul, but I can call it unsportmanlike behaviour.

Part of my problem arose, because the other team was awarded the throw in, and when I reviewed it later, I wasn't sure if it should be been an indirect kick because I took the time to talk (caution) the players. (Note that I wasn't very specific earlier that it was indirect)

The incident that stood out was that it was a tackle from behind, that caused the teammate to flip backward. It was a hard hit.

I understand that normally, this is not an issue that needs to be addressed, because, team mates do not intentionally try to steal the ball from their own team, unless of course they are 6U, and they really do not understand yet sometimes at this age.

Since I did not issue any cards, other than stop the play, to discuss with the players that it was not acceptable vs using words such as unsportmanlike behaviour, which may of gone over their heads in understanding is the real difference here.

What I would like is to keep it at the level of 6U could understand, and have it so in future matches, they do not do it to the other team, which they have done, but was very unsuccessful at, completely missing the ball and player. The realy big picture is that it will happen again, either against their team mate or against an opponent. Better to stop it now when it starts, than to have to revisit it over again. At some point this can become a bigger issue. It is also easier to tell a player at 6U level they can not do something, than to try to explain that they can do it in this case (against their team mate) and not do it against the opponent. Makes it really confusing.

So I just want to match the laws of the game, while keeping with the age level of understanding, and choosing the correct way to restart the game. Since this was not one isolated event, but several events, and unsuccessfully attemted events.

Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Joseph, though I didn't chime in on your base question I feel obligated to speak up at this time. I am having great difficulty with your use of terminology.

You state in no uniquivical manner that you are cautioning the players early in the question but later on you qualify cautioning as just a talking to. In the event you are stopping play and NOT cautioning and showing the yellow card in accordance with Law 12 your only option in restarting play is a dropped ball [unless play had already stopped for some other reason]

Further you speak of a tackle from behind, this sounds like a TV commentator speaking because a referee would know the words tackle from behind no longer appear in the Laws of the Game.

If you feel things of this nature are going to happen again then you must instill in the players just how much of this you are going to tolerate. Before the match at the coin toss is not the time nor place. When this is done is on the first and each subsequent occurrence of the intolerable act. This is sometimes called setting the tone of the match.

Remember a youth match is Safe Fair and Fun -- an amateur match or college match is Fair Safe and Fun -- and a professional match [when you get there is Fun Fair and Safe. You'll note where the emphasis is placed at each level and the referee is instrumental in assuring what happens on his ground is what should be happening.

Regards,



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Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino

If you stop play to have a chat with the players and do not caution and show the yellow card, you restart with a dropped ball. If you caution them, as you say, you must show the yellow card and restart with an Indirect Free Kick to the opponents. You cannot allow a throw-in as you stopped play before the ball went out of play.

All that said, you need to stop the game and tell the coaches in the strongest terms possible to have their players STOP performing slide tackles asap!! If they continue, you caution and show a yellow card every time it happens but this is a last resort. I really don't understand the problem. This is U6. The kids do what they're told to do. The problem is the coaches.



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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

First, I commend your league/club for having referees at U6, U7 and U8. That doesn't often happen, and by the time they get to U10 they have learned too many bad habits. Hopefully they are using this as a part of the education of soccer players, and they not just using it as a place to put newbie referees. That could end up being worse than on referees, because many newbies have an esaggerated black/white construct of the Laws and league rules; they can't see all the various shades of gray that happen in the U-Littles. Your questions here indicate that you are one of those refs who wants to do not just the right thing (in Law) but also the correct thing (for the kids).

I also commend them for writing the rules as no slide tackling, rather than a prohibition of playing on the ground.

You might reconsider what you are calling slide tackles. I've done my share of U8's, and while they often end up on the ground, it's seldom a slide tackle that put them there. Stretching out a leg and then going down doesn't make it a slide tackle.

Also you should be reluctant to use the cards at this age. Unless there's some blatant violent conduct, you should be able to improve the teams' behaviors without showing a card to do so. Sometimes just a stern warning from an officious-looking figure can do wonders - although be prepared for what to do if the tears start. I don't even take my cards out of my wallet until I get the U14 select games. While I have issued cards in rec games and at U10 and U12, keeping the cards in my wallet gives me another second or two to consider my actions before I take them.

If the players do indeed insist on committing dangerous slides toward their teammates (and at U7 every true slide tackle is dangerous), you will need to enlist the help of the coach to make it stop. You have a great power here that you must use wisely! You know the Laws; likely the coach doesn't. You can convince the coach that the players' behavior must be stopped, and perhaps the best way to do that is to sub them out for a spell so they can see how the other players act fairly. Sure, you have no authority under any stretch of the imagination to force a substitution - but you can use the strength of your personality to convince the coach it is necessary for the players' well-being.



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