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Question Number: 29585

Mechanics 8/5/2015

RE: Select Under 19

Matt of BRISTOW, VA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 29564

A comment/statement of opinion more so than a question. One factor not explicitly mentioned in the replies was the impact of the language on the tenor of the game going forward. Several of the panel mentioned the emotions connected with the use of language. Given that, a warning here might be a valuable game management tool. I was an AR for a U19 game in the spring where a home team player was not warned/cautioned for using similar language (not directed at another player) after scoring a goal. As the game progressed and the language continued, the tensions escalated and an opponent wound up being dismissed for threatening that player. In my opinion, had the referee warned the player after the initial outburst, it would have prevented the ensuing chaos.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Matt
Thanks for your observation. The reason the impact of the language was not mentioned was that it usually takes more than just the language for matters to escalate. Yes sometimes the typical foul mouth offender exhibits other unwelcome traits such as aggression, confrontation etc. and referees need to be aware of that.
Good referees understand the pulse of the game and the actions that are likely to escalate into something more. It can also help when the referee has some knowledge of the participants. The loud mouth aggressor needs to be dealt with firmly where perhaps a shout of self annoyance by an otherwise *quiet* player perhaps just need a quiet word.
Referees also need to look for trends in a game by teams and players. I have a good sense of when player frustration is building and I can many times head that off. Having said that I have also been in games where despite that sense I was still unable to prevent a hostile reaction. I recall a semi final with no cards for 115 minutes and then I had two red cards, a mass confrontation and I think 3/4 yellows in the last 5 minutes. I had impeccable control for all of the game up to that point and one challenge kicked off a fraught last five. Looking back I could not say it was caused by anything that was said or done previously in the game. Perhaps tiredness, desperation, time in the game, previous history etc were factors.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Matt,
thanks for the suggestions. Although in passing I thought the ask, tell, do , aspect reflected the need to do as you suggested . Each referee will see things from their point of view and make adjustments accordingly to their perception. A warning is like all other decisions that set the bar or standards. You must be prepared to react if the desired response from the players is not forth coming. You might be correct that a series of warnings on foul language were needed or could have the desired calming effect! It is just you use the phrase, ( would have prevented) I think ...could... is a possibility ...would.... is a certainty and rarely do I find it to be true! I have seen matches go to pieces when referees trying to morally correct player behaviour did nothing but annoy given the referees inattention to other aspects created the real unrest.

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