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Question Number: 29277

Law 18 - Common Sense 4/1/2015

RE: Ayso u15 Under 15

Monique of Spring Valley, California 91977 asks...

Blue team player has possesion of the ball and is approx 3ft from goal, keeper is clearly not likely to be able to prevent the goal due to postioning, it was a clear shot, red player defending against the goal continues challenging for possesion, is unsuccessful and 'trips' in front of attacking blue player as blue player is beggining to take the shot. Blue player trips but recovers quickly, retains possession of ball and defending red player falls again, this time on top of the ball, at attackers feet and this time attacker falls too. Keeper gains possession and kicks ball into play legally. No call made. Similar circumstances in a game with younger players was made in prior game by same ref. Coach in that game protested the lack of call and was immediately ejected from field. Parent objected once to lack of call in this match and later during match commented to their child as they were charged from behind and knocked out of play, again with no call made by ref, 'It's ok, we have it on tape.' Parent was also ejected from field area. Refs also did not inspect before the game, 3 players minimum played entire game wearing stud earrings, one player played most of game with shin guard half exposed, shirts untucked by much of red team and AR 1&2 giving thumbs up signals to red players. Same match, blue & red players running to gain possession of a pass that went a bit too far to one side, red player is closer and blue player is faster, red changes course to place their body between Blue player and ball, slows dramatically waving arms wildly above head, delaying blue player long enough for keeper to arrive and pick ball up. No call made, play continues. Is ANY of this appropriate, protective, fair referreeing?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Monique,
not to upset you but this is what we call a rant. You are voicing your displeasure at what you believe is an unacceptable display of officiating. This is NOT to say you do not have validity to your position that the refereeing might be suspect. Officials like players need time and training to develop good skills or habits. Just remember, appropriate behaviour, protecting our children and conducting our actions fairly are everyone's concern. How we act appropriately or fair, when it appears others are not, sends a message too!

We were not there to watch, view, assess or mentor nor can we evaluate or critique a referee's performance we have not seen. We are generally loath to cast aspersions on a real time referee performance because we too have had moments where those watching thought they saw less than our best.

No one is perfect, as to where the referee is on the learning curve is anybody's guess. As to the specifics you mention, NO, a referee should not permit charging fouls, impeding or unwarranted USB or DOGSO to go unchallenged. Most definitely the SAFTEY of ALL is of primary concern! But as to whether there is solid foul recognition or good situational awareness or a decent positional angle or if all criteria for any given situation is present we must at times agree to disagree for the good of the game and move on

As for impinging the referees character, integrity is something one has, or does not. As neutral sources a referee or AR must not be intimidated by those who disagree with a decision no matter if it was a mistake or not. So sending off an abusive coach or forcing a match to stop to remove a disruptive parent are NOT in my opinion faults but rather one of courage. There will be a review of the match report to ascertain the circumstances. I can only hope those responsible are held accountable to explain the what and the why and there is a positive outcome for those involved that something that was needed is learned!

It is exceedingly important to not only voice but write down your concerns to your league, supply them with the video! Ask politely and respectfully but demand they respond to your concerns. What policy do they have to train officials? Ask them what THEY think is appropriate action a coach or parent can display ON the field. I can guarantee, arguing with the official is not high on the list.

Think on helping the official become better rather than become bitter about a possible poor performance . Assessors, mentors and assignors, a referee requires feedback and self evaluation to move forward on the quest to becoming a dependable official. Your feedback is important as the official needs to be open to hard truths but manage the way in which it is presented to have a good effect. A good referee welcomes criticism and feedback, positive and negative just not usually while the match is in progress.

It is crucial to think on the impact adults have on the attitude the kids will take when they see adults at the touchlines ill tempered and angry, creating additional problems. There is a reason Silent Saturday soccer matches were instituted to encourage greater RESPECT.

Whether a referee is a fastidious dictator of dotting I's or crossing T's or simply lazy and unconcerned with the technical side. It is likely he or she is somewhere in between with limited knowledge or experience. Perhaps more scared of making a mistake than calling what he/she thinks has occurred.

A cool, calm, collected, referee with a firm grasp of the LOTG and a true understanding of the spirit, using their knowledge to make the right decisions, operating with integrity, courage and compassion. Being on top of play, yet nearly invisible is something any true official strives for EVERY match

Codes of conduct are contracts of a sort where the participants agree to a moral code of sorts. These documents are meant for EVERYONE who plays a role in the association, including the parents, coaches players referees and the association's governing body. The concepts of accountability and responsibility to honour OUR duty to one another to set aside adversarial conduct and seek solutions, fix the problems, not point out blame. To engage in fun,the competitive spirit need not be discarded, only balanced with respect and understanding .

I understand your concerns are real, I respect that, but I also know preconceived notions and assumptions are easily held as fact rather than opinion. If you should choose to read my profile I describe my views on how a game is seen differently by those involved and why the Esse incident in the 1998 World Cup weighs in on my view of the beautiful game. It is why we on this site dedicate our free time to help others understand things are not always what they seem on the pitch.

We ALL remain united in our desire to do the best job possible and keep the players safe even if on occasion one of us stumbles and fails to do so. While, in my opinion , it is essential we forgive those who error, ourselves included. One might not see something or not know something or not understand something . One can be hesitant, unsure or intimidated but the ONLY real problem an official can have that I get truly annoyed at is a LACK OF EFFORT!


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Answer provided by Referee Dennis Wickham

The AYSO approach is that coaches, referees and parents are on the same team. So, it wants only comments that are positive and encouraging from the touchlines. Of course, adults get caught up in the emotions of competition, but my experience is that the kids just want to play. They understand that no matter how flawed, the referees are doing their best.

AYSO uses volunteer referees. Some are very good. Some are new. Some are poor. But, no region has enough referees. Many of us became referees, frankly, because we thought we could do better than the current crop of volunteers.

Most find that it is a very challenging role - much harder than coaching or playing. Many new referees drop out because they don't want to deal with the adults when they make a mistake. And all referees make mistakes in every game. Almost all of the better referees considered quitting early in their careers. It takes time and experience to do it well.

Your region has mentors, instructors and assessors to help referees get better. Having your coach contact the referee administrator is the most effective way to get feedback about a referee. They will send an assessor to observe and help the referees.

Jewelry. Players may not wear jewelry, and should have been required to leave the field to correct this. Unlike drooping socks or untucked jerseys, earings are a safety item.

I recommend that you attend the beginning referee class at your region. You seem passionate about the game, and the safety of the players, and we need more referees with that passion. PS: the referee whose poor performance inspired me to take the class never got better, and dropped out when his kids stopped playing.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Monique
Everyone sits on a unique hilltop with their own view of the world. In soccer games it is no different and what can viewed to be a foul to one person may not be to another.
Certainly on matters of fact such as no jewellery that is not opinion based and it should not happen. However shirts tucked in is not a safety concern and unless it is a competition rule it is rarely bothered about. It is not part of the laws of the Game. Same might apply to loose socks. Im constantly on the case of some players about this and while it results in a pull up of the sock at the time perhaps 15 minutes later it is a reminder.
Now when I go game to watch referees I see both good and bad performances. Some referees are just not good enough yet with a shortage of officials it is either use them or the games do not get played. Referee bodies and association do their best to train and to try to improve the weaker officials though observations, mentoring, advice, training etc. As I have said to league meetings it is like poor driving. The moment a police car is in traffic the standard improves yet we cant have observers at every game.
What I will say is that Leagues and assignors know who the good officials are and those referees are appointed to the games that demand strong, good officials.
We would all love to have FIFA badged match officials in every game yet that is not possible. So we have to manage what we have as best we can. I might suggest that rather than berating match officials it would be wiser for the team / club to write to the assignor expressing concern about the performance pointing out matters of fact and concern. In our Leagues such complaints result in referee observations.

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