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Question Number: 28586

Character, Attitude and Control 7/9/2014

RE: Intermediate Under 12

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 28575

I'm glad to see that many of you (who I've come to respect greatly) feel that more cards should have been given out at the cup games. A number of games started out with no cards given in the first half & things escalated quickly. It made it necessary to give cards in the 2nd half.

Personally, I think if cards were given the way they should, players would adapt. The reason they still tug, push, etc. at corner kicks is because, even with referee warnings, there really is no penalty. It's not a foul, because the ball isn't in play, & is far less serious than kneeing someone in the back.

As far as what fans want, I wouldn't think that even anti-Brazilian fans would want to see someone with a cracked vertebrae. We still don't know for sure if he'll be able to play again.

When I was a teenager & a hockey fan, I loved to see the gloves come off. But that didn't make it right & when someone was struck with a stick, it could end a career, as well as cause permanent injury.

If FIFA thinks that missing games is too severe a penalty, maybe they ought to rethink the rules. A yellow takes them out for 10 minutes...a red takes them out of that game...if an intentional foul injures someone enough to cause them to leave in a stretcher, they miss 2 games (plus any other penalty that FIFA the Suarez suspension (which was much too light).

Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Phil,

I completely agree. Take dissent, for example. I firmly believe we should all be much, much stricter on dissent. Other sports are, so I see no reason why we can't be. But, I also have to referee in a somewhat expected manner - I can't go on a one man crusade!

Take the shirt removal caution. I know very, very few people who agree with it being a caution - but because it's clear and consistent, you hear almost no complaint when the card does come out. Same with removing the player from the field if the trainer comes on to attend injury.

If we referee something a certain way, players will adapt to it. At the higher levels though, it's also about having a game that's enjoyable for spectators, so to some extent matches are refereed to spectator expectations. Of course, spectators can also be trained to expect something different.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
I believe soccer has to move with the times. Clearly FIFA gave instructions to referees to 'limit' the situation in which cautions were issued in the World Cup. The stats prove that. Unfortunately that was abused by certain teams and players. I did not see one caution for dissent but I did witness examples. I also saw fouls that would normally be sanctioned with a caution go unpunished with a foul only being awarded.
If FIFA do not want players to miss games for two cautions then increase the number or better still take immediate sanction such as a timed exclusion. It might even open up some games. I saw a cynical foul in the Argentina v Netherlands game result in an admonishment only. I can say for certain it would have been a caution in any other game in Europe. Perhaps if the Dutch player was missing for 10 minutes the opponents might kick on to try to take advantage of that.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Phil,
your observations are not without merit. The use of the sinbin mandatory timeouts for law infractions during a match requiring teams to play short are included at the USA NFHS school level even FIFA indoor so it is not a stretch to see it arrive at the FIFA outdoor game. I agree 100% cards should be shown for the appropriate reasons and what I see as the elite example is simply not going to fly at the recreational level I officiate at because it is not the world cup, millions of dollars are not riding on outcomes, but mostly because we need to be safe to go home at the end of the day to go to work ! Not to detract from the top referee model where the Jedi official is trained to work the ebb and flow of a match through long hours of preparation and training amid the reality of political considerations and intense scrutiny. I often consider the life force of officiating within the hearts of many lesser skilled colleagues (myself included) is the effect we have both on and away from the pitch. The concept of integrity highlights an essential life force element of a referee's character! While every choice has ramifications it is in the honor of the position of trust that one makes the correct choice for the right reason, one can not honor the truth without integrity. As a result of this illumination , I developed a life defining realization, 'A referee with integrity sees what he sees!' I referee with such ease now I find it hard to imagine how I struggled with the useless chaff that accompanies so much of what we do!
In a old article, ' Are we still on the same side when we disagree? ' I remarked there are four points of view from which a game is seen.!

1 player sees what he feels he sees
2 coach sees what he wants to see
3 spectator sees what they think they see
4 Referee sees what he sees!

The key here is the officials at the world cup SEE quite well but are given specific direction as to the consequences of seeing too much, too soon!
No FIFA referee enjoys sending off a player especially one representing their country on the worlds biggest stage. FIFA wants the stars to shine! IF those player/stars can behave in an acceptable manner, tough job determining that level by those charged with officiating those stars who like to implode at times! They are willing to blow up those that show NOVA (Suarez) like tendencies

Dissent is not truly a big deal unless it is detracting to the point of ridiculousness. My skin is thick enough to deflect the mutterings of the disenchanted unless they pull out the knives I suspect the professionals' man management skill's are at least equal to my own lol

I have come to the realization! acceptance? resignation?? lol that players do not adapt their playing habits based on the use or non use of cards as cautions and send offs continue from youth to adult for all who play unabated. Suarez for example 3 bites three heavy sanctions he adapted how? I watch the greatest players go down at the slightest touch or exaggerate to the point of utter contempt because they are targeted and those hundreds of cracks to their ankles and shins and backs can result in the same fate that Neymar faced! The problem is in the NEED to achieve victory creates mindsets of entitlement and what is required is simply necessary to achieve an outcome. The use of the cynical foul or professional foul where ball or man one or the other gets by but NEVER both is ingrained at the elite level! As such its rampant use throughout the game is easily discerned

I have maintained a belief, flawed though it might be, is players must adapt to a referee as a match condition and the BEST the players can hope for is impartiality, fairness and consistency! Notice I did not say perfection or mention foul recognition or law understanding even though knowledge of the LOTG and reading the foul tolerance of the players are fundamental to the development of a referees ability to do well. The key to a good official is in my opinion the ability to crack a smile, humour and compassion, integrity and effort, knowledge and application of it. The upset of it all is no matter how good we are or how hard we try 50% of those watching still think we suck on any given day lol

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