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Question Number: 29080

Character, Attitude and Control 1/3/2015

RE: College

Geoffrey Dave of Dunfermline, Fife Scotland asks...

Are referees, or linespeople allowed to swear at a player? If not, how can they be punished?

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

College referees belong to a referee's association and are normally assigned to games by a Conference Assignor who is appointed by the Commissioner of the Conference. If a Ref or AR would swear at a player, the player's Coach would report the swearing to the Conference Commissioner who would report the incident to the Assignor and ask that the Official be punished in some way - most likely not given future assignments in the conference. The official could also be reported by the Coach or the Commissioner to his/her association who could also take actions such as reprimanding the official or suspending the official from membership in the association for a given period of time.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Geoffrey
Referees and assistants are bound by a code and swearing / abusive behaviour towards anyone is totally unacceptable. When this happens it can usually end up being reported by the club and investigated by the local FA. One of the challenges facing any disciplinary hearing is finding an impartial credible witness/es as to what was said and by whom.
If a referee or assistant is found guilty of misconduct they are suspended in the same way as players for a period of games.
It should certainly not happen and it goes totally against the referees code of conduct. A referee who does this has let himself and his colleagues down even if the circumstances are testing.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Geoffrey,
respect and professional conduct by officials reflect their integrity and self control in pressure situations. As imperfect humans it is not easy to refrain from the occasional inappropriate outbursts! Swearing at a player, insulting or any demeaning act be it verbal or physical is simple unacceptable behaviour! Your match your decision, your reputation is as easily inspirational as it is tarnished by the things we say or do! Under certain conditions you MIGHT get away with a verbal slip up or even a physical interaction under dubious circumstances but expect repercussions such as fines and suspensions even legal action if you are too obtuse

Admittedly as a referee, I have gotten mad at outrageous actions by players , coaches, parents and spectators. I responded with less than outstanding conduct on any number of occasions but always fully aware that we must take total responsibility for our actions no matter the excuses for them.

I can recall the great Italian official Pierluigi Collina the best referee of his generation getting up close and personal into the grill of an occasional player, saying not nice things, even pushing him away when separating two opposing players. This is a definite NO NO but funny how certain individuals use their presence or in fact HAVE enough of a presence that can act in such a manner where another referee might get pummelled or taken to task.


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