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Question Number: 28018

Other 11/20/2013

RE: competitive Under 14

JR of knox, tn knox asks...

This question is a follow up to question 23813

What if as a parent I feel the official has no control over the game and I fear for my childs safety. I was just at a tournament that the center official was a young man with what I felt was a huge ego problem (HE never said anything to me ) but I did see him engage other parents and even ask some to leave the field. Things really erupted when the back defender played the ball the the keeper and the keeper pick the ball up AND NO call was made. The field marshall was called and did agree( had video) that that was a very bad and dissapointing no call but you will have to live with it. Why does the parent have to give up all rights in soccer. Sorry to say but in my time watching youth soccer about 70% of these refs are young men with huge ego problems that just want to boss someone around for an hour or two. Youth soccer has grown so much the last few years does not seem to be enough good officials to go around. I think its time for a rule that the ref is held accountable and can be removed as well.

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Many become referees because of things they saw while watching their kids play. They often experience a number of things: (a) what they though were the rules are actually myths and that the no-calls were the correct one; (b) they learn that their job is to facilitate a safe and fair game for the players to enjoy; and (c) they confirm that the some of the referees they observed (as parents) are indeed idiots.

There is a need for more good and caring referees. Come join us.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Two issues here. The safety piece is paramount and if any coach / parent at Underage feels for the safety of players then the coach / parent should remove the player/s from that situation. It is then up to the League to deal with that.
Now as regards poor officiating and bad calls that is a different matter entirely. Like in all walks of life there are good, average and poor referees. The challenge for those charged with developing officiating is to make the good referees better and to try to improve the other two categories into decent referees. If an official is simply not good enough they are held accountable which does mean being demoted or removed from a panel. That is not broadcast or made public but I can assure you it happens.Many also realise this and walk away from the game as they see little progress in grades and generally an unpleasant environment.
Now if one looks at it from the referee perspective one finds that many games are marred by unpleasantness from the sideline and constant disputing of calls. Some dissenters don't even know the Laws. Many referees unfortunately develop this persona that you describe to at best manage games which many times are confrontational, win at all costs types.
In your example a field marshall has to be called because of the failure to award an IDFK for a technical offence. Yes it probably was a mistake but so what. As the field marshall said the teams just have to live with decisions good or bad. Mistakes are part of the game. Players make mistakes so do referees.
So of course everyone want their games to be refereed by a Mark Geiger or a Kari Seitz but that is not going to happen. Many games in the world do not even have an official referee because there just are not enough person interested as they see it as a thankless, difficult role.
Referees of all types are part of the football community and they all need our support particularly the ones that are not so good.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I fail to see how missing a call on the goalkeeper picking up a ball that was deliberately kicked to him threatens the safety of players.

But if you feel the safety of your child is in peril, you have the responsibility to step in and pull your child from the game. You won't be popular, but you have to do what you have to do to keep your child safe.

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