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Question Number: 29236

Law 5 - The Referee 3/9/2015

RE: competive Under 17

glen of london, uk asks...


need some advice please
here goes.

our team played a league fixture on Sunday basically the game was at 1-1 with 5mins left to play.
our team needed to win to claim top spot with just 4 games to go.but a draw would of all but handed the league to the opposing team.
for the 6-7mins before the incident our team was all out attacking and putting the opposition under extreme pressure.

we feel that there striker deliberately started a fight with one of our center backs resulting in both sets of players having (what i would call a skirmish) in the middle of the pitch,
it was quickly stopped and players were separated by managers coaches and parent,somewhat roughly on the their side i have to add..
the referee somewhat hastily abandoned the game regardless of our pleas and assurances that our players would act properly but the opposing manager was very adamant that there team did not want to continue even tho it was quite clear there player started the whole affair.

the referee was uncomfortable friendly with the opposing teams coaching staff and parents both before and after the game.also trying to blame our center back for starting the incident even tho he clearly missed the starting of it as the linesman had to shout to him to inform him that they had started fighting.
these things along with some, what i and speaking after the game to some of the opposing teams parents think was absolutely shocking calls on 2 penalties and numerous free kicks does not sit easily with myself and the club.
i know i am bordering on sounding like a sore loser but i do and always have prided myself on being as honest as possible.
is there anything the club can do about this or do we have to just put up and shut up.
also can anyone tell me what happens regarding the result.

any help or advice on this would be greatly appreciated

many thanks


a long suffering spurs fan lol

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Glen,
Firstly by admitting you are a Spurs fan, you have gained my sympathy so I will be kind in addressing your concerns! LOL

The best advice I can offer you is to write a letter explaining your concerns, without appearing to be attacking or affixing blame, rather more to looking for solutions and fixing problems. Still, unless throughout the season, the association tracks and monitors those who participate within in it, the standard of officiating is relative to the attention paid to it. Some leagues have good solid communication skills and pay attention to what others think always looking for good solid input. Some associations are dictatorial, think they know better or just lazy and often disregard input! Just like a good or bad referee!

The responsibility of each individual is to conduct themselves in a reasonable fashion, to be accountable for ones action. Who is to say where a referee or coach is on that journey as an official as to his current level of understanding the game and implementing the LOTG. One can only hope those involved are doing the best that they can. If they are in trouble then avenues should be available to sort it out!

A neutral official acting in a professional capacity should acknowledge it as a good idea to lessen acts of impropriety by not appearing to be overly familiar as a family member of the home club. That said, it is a fact people will know one another, be friends and associate freely.

Understand a referee is unconcerned with a teams standing, desire for results or cries for decisions. A referee is to ensure SAFETY and fair play! How hard your team works, how much they want to win, can not be a concern of a neutral referee! Decisions that go against you are often difficult to accept no matter if they are 100% correct or blatantly wrong because your interests are not served!

Now as coach and players are not neutral they must rely on their discipline and understanding of consequences to act responsible even if others are not. To be calm and refrain from confrontation is difficult but physical retaliation shows a lack of discipline. It is WELL KNOWN the referee usually sees BLATANT retaliation than the sneaky jab that preceded it! Many a player uses anger as a tactic to wind up an opponent!

Ask yourself how often do we see a cheap shot go undetected by the official? The offended player with fist ready to punch the little snit but instead uses his heel of the hand on the guys forehead or shoulder to push him away in disgust fighting the urge to smack him. Then this creep of a guy throws his hands to his eyes screaming and falls, writhing on the ground as if scalded by burning acid by the, oh so nasty retaliation caught by the now looking referee, YES I am being facetious! Diving is a horrible blight on the game, faking injury, faking a foul, using tactics to goad your opponent into a rash act of retaliation. Integrity is NOT reserved only for officials but its absence is often duly noted in players.

A referee under relentless pressure from opposing sides maybe overwhelmed to resolve the match and seek abandonment as the only out he can live with. I can fault no referee who considers the safety of those playing more important than finishing a match, no matter how it came to be at that point. I find pointing the finger of blame as to who bears ultimate responsibility is an easy escape as it is ever so pliable in being reversed.

A neutral referee is paid to make a decision, we are not granted a say. A referee with integrity sees what he sees, even if we see it different. The referee will be held accountable in the match review as will the coaches and players. Although the solutions arrived might not be to anyone's liking, they can only conform to a consensus of those in authority piecing together the stories, opinions and judgements of fact to the best of their ability

For a referee to chose to abandon a match he must fill out an incident report detailing his concerns to go with the overall match report . Generally a review committee will request to hear your own version of events! I have no idea what they might chose to do, let the draw stand, replay the match, discipline players , hand out fines such things are part of the ROC (Rules of Competition)

Being honest does not make you right nor does it mean you are wrong in having concerns. Once our confidence in the officiating is lost, for whatever reason, be it our own biased observation of what we think is an unfair decision or the referee simply mucks it up by inexperience or a wrong decision at a crucial juncture it is difficult to be subjective and willing not to pass judgement. There are times when we must simply agree to disagree and move on.

Every association ...SHOULD... have programs in place to mentor, assess and chart the progress of those who officiate their matches with the expectation that consistent feedback and incentives will improve the quality of refereeing! The RESPECT programs, those who play in their league, the coaches, managers even parents should be signed up to codes of conduct in the preseason with arbitration and collective reviews throughout the season in place to handle disagreements or conflicts.

Feedback should be possible by ALL in attendance! Provide comment cards to the public! Parents, players, coaches, managers, officials, They can be simple
1. The ref exceeded expectations
2. The ref met expectations.
3. The ref did not meet expectations.

Or check off slots of rating 1 to 10 and cover basic evaluations of effort, good communication with whistle, voice, and hand signals
proper positioning and movement to allow making good calls
positive attitude and age-appropriate interaction with players
correct decision making, with free space to offer the option to provide a detailed comment on a particular incident.

If the comments made are vindictive, mean or petty, chances are the sour grapes grumbling gets tossed! If the comments are lucid, factual, made with the idea of improving the game rather than bitterly complaining about the result they have greater credibility

The use of video and audio to make a case for improprieties along the touchline is a practise within the elite level where events unseen by the referee can garner considerable attention. Preseason ALL should gather and discuss. Referees and players, coaches and parents there is no reason to be adversarial. Set out guidelines, training ops, look for solutions before the disagreements start!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Glen
Can't help you on the Spurs bit.
As regards the outcome of the disciplinary hearing that will depend on the competition rules and the referees report. I have seen everything from result to stand, match to be replayed to game to be finished out. As a general principle teams that cause an abandonment should not benefit from that decision. So I suspect the referees opinion of the cause may have a bearing.
Now was it the correct decision. I was not there so I cannot evaluate the mood of the game. When there is a mass, all in, melee then perhaps the wise decision is to abandon. If a player decided to take retribution in the last five minutes then there could be a serious injury and with one team not wanting to continue that puts a great deal of pressure on the referee, pressure by the way that he can do without.
Now for what its worth blaming the referee for poor decision making or being friendly with one team reads to me to be sour grapes despite your plea to the contrary. It is like one Blue manager accusing Referee Martin Aitkinson of getting four decision wrong in a recent game. No mention of playing poorly or being tired or getting tactics wrong. Teams should accept responsibility for the parts under their control and refereeing decision is not one of them. Good teams recognise they can only control the controllables because some things will be beyond their control such the a referee call, the weather, bounce of the ball etc.
Now as this was an underage game there is a valuable learning lesson here. Discipline is a key part of successful teams and without judging who was at fault an underage game should not result in a melee. The cause be it starting a fight or retaliation shows lack of discipline either way on both parties. If one party walks away then that can be the end if it. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

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Answer provided by Referee Gene Nagy


I will be brief. There is only one document that counts here and that is the referee's report. Whatever he puts in there needs to be understood, agreed with or picked apart. It makes no difference that YOU say a striker picked a fight, who was about to win top spot, who YOU say caused the ruckus, how friendly YOU say the ref was with the opponents or any such comment coming from a coach.

I have personally abandoned about 4 games in my career and each time it was to do with crowd or coach/substitutes entering the field. Well Glen, that is exactly what you say happened here. And you say 'somewhat roughly' at that. You describe a situation where a bunch of people entered the field of play to separate a fight.

You see what I am getting at? This is a volatile situation and could explode into far worse. I bet you I would have done the same. But take a look at the report and maybe you can find something that will necessitate a replay.

I lived in Surrey for a few years, far from White Hart Lane and still I was a Spurs fan going back to late fifties. Still am, still suffering.

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