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Question Number: 23372

The Technical Area 5/25/2010

RE: Rec and High School Under 16

John of Eatontown , New Jersey USA asks...

What is the rule regarding an opposing coach 'B' calling his team to the side lines but still on the field and gives them instructions while coach of team 'A' is attending to his injured player on the field...

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The high school rule is clear: neither coach may give instructions to players when an injured player is being examined on the field.

Under TLOG, the coach is permitted to give instructions from the technical area. When the coach or trainer is summoned onto the field to examine an injured player, that team official should only tend to the injured player. It is not an opportunity to instruct players on the field of play.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Referee John
In my opinion it is very difficult for referees to manage coaching during injuries. Players come to sideline to take water and it is unlikely that a coach will not give advice. Coupled with that is the possible censure that a referee can impose. Is a referee going to engage with a respectful coach who is talking to his players at the sideline?

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Answer provided by Referee Michelle Maloney

While Laws and rules are written in black and white, the intent regarding enforcement is generally gray. The laws/rules are there for the referee to use to prevent offenses against players and, more broadly, the spirit of the game itself. Thus the concept of trifling or doubtful in dealing with offenses by players - if it is trifling and doesn't affect the player or the game, ignore it. If it was doubtful, there is nothing to call.

Dealing with coaches runs along the same vein. If the coach is not delaying the restart, not causing disruption, or otherwise blatantly disobeying a rule or law (read affecting the game directly), the referee can choose, for game management purposes to either do nothing, or to have a quiet word with the coach. Sometimes it is as simple as the coach not knowing, and the quiet word will alter the behavior. Sometimes it is gamesmanship on the part of the coach, and the referee will have to think carefully about the best way to deal with it. Discretion is the better part of valor - an old saying with a great deal of wisdom still.

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