Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 28666

Character, Attitude and Control 8/18/2014

RE: Under 19

rick ness of midlothian, va usa asks...

If a player punches an opposing player during a tackle and the Ref. and AR
some how miss the misconduct. Is it approiate for the player to complain to the ref.

Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

Players and referees talk all the time, and good referees want information from the player.

How the player complains can affect what happens next.

When a (usually BU19) player screams at me: 'Open you eyes, you f({)JSJDFKg idiot. He nearly killed me.' Two things are likely. First, I will know I probably missed something important and will check with my ARs. Second, I'm going to punish the player who directs such language at me.

But, many referees can and will caution a player for dissent when the victim's complaint is loud, aggressive, or incessant even when the language used is not obscene.

Read other questions answered by Referee Dennis Wickham

View Referee Dennis Wickham profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Rick
It depends on the manner of the complaint. Players provide the referee with information all the time and that can be helpful to match control. Some want to referee the game by providing their view and opinion. Some react in an offensive or dissenting manner towards the referee. Others simply say what happened to them. As I tell players all the time I have a unique view of the game, I do miss incidents and I don't have x-ray nor 360 degree vision. I do however like many referees ''file the information away'' in my head as I may be expected to deal with a follow on situation maybe later in the game when a player continues with dirty play or decides to take retribution.
In a recent game I was told about, both the centre and the assistant referee missed an incident of violent conduct. Everyone on that side of the field saw it along with the match assessor. Unfortunately it was missed and a mark down in assessment for both match officials. That is little comfort to the player but unfortunately it does happen. I have no doubt the players told the referee what happened or didn't for that matter
I can assure you that the last thing that referees want is for players guilty of violent conduct to remain on the field of play.
Thankfully in a long career it has only happened to me twice, both times when on my own and behind my back. It taught me a lesson about positioning although if a player really wants to misbehave when a referee is on his own he can manage to do that at some time in the game.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Rick,
I want to reiterate the sentiment of my colleagues! WE are not happy if players guilty of violent conduct remain on the field of play because we are unable to catch them in a flagrant act of aggression. Devious minds will work their dirty back stabs and skullduggery away from prying eyes, perhaps hoping to incite a retaliation that we will see and act upon.
There is nothing inherently bad about relaying some vital information to the referee if it helps relive you of some angst or if you feel unprotected or unfairly treated. As long as you understand that as a neutral figure we can not take sides and accept your word as gospel. It is good to have neural ARs to help with such things as more eyes on the match more can be seen! We certainly can consider what a player tells us. A good referee understands that dissent by the players is a message at times of just how well or unwell a match is going. It is not that a referee should tolerate unreasonable dissent but soccer is an emotional game and outbursts of angst and dismay or down right anger often have a basis in truth. It is unwise to discount it!
I will cut some slack for an upset player in pain or anguish if I missed something or found it different then he, but the three Ps of dissent, persistent, personal and public have a tolerance limit! Not willing to be heavily railed as a blankety blank blankety sack of blankety blanket without thinking about cautioning or sending off for abuse.
I usually say I am not perfect but I strive to fair and will not call what I do no know to true! It is ok to apologise and state for the record we cannot know exactly what occurred but we do not enjoy hearing we were made a fool of. Our attentions can be diverted but one should always try to seek out injustice and look for those who flaunt it!
I have no issues with players telling me, hey what the heck? Especially when I can read in the face, body language, tone inflection and yes physical marks that something is truly amiss and I be the one a missing it! Sigh!

I had a player come to me at the halftime, just glare at me, turn around pull his sock down and I could see the cleat marks along his ankle and calf. Every time in the opposition area on a corner the defender was stepping into the back of his ankle/leg in a deceptive way that I had not picked up on! br> Lets just say things were a bit different in the second half

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 28666
Read other Q & A regarding Character, Attitude and Control

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.