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Question Number: 29650

Character, Attitude and Control 9/1/2015

RE: all levels Other

Mike of Lebanon, CT USA asks...

So on another ref board I apparently waded into a controversy when I expressed the view that I do not adjust my calls based on the score differential. Several objected to this view. I do use the score differential as a clue to behavior, e.g. is the losing team getting frustrated, etc? The initial issue was time wasting and when to YC for it. One person said that if the score was 10-0 and the losing team was time wasting, he would never enforce the law. I stated I never base my calls on the score differential; if a player commits a violation, then it's a violation even if their team is losing 10-0. Of course, verbal warnings help before going so far as giving cards.

This goes way back to my beginning days as a ref, when a more experienced ref said to never call a PK in the last minute of a tie game even if the foul was obvious as the game should not be decided by the ref. I still disagree with that as the player who committed the foul decided the game, not the ref.

Finally, the question: do you ref according to the score differential? Am I being too much of a stickler in my outlook here?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Mike,
integrity and compassion, enforcing the LOTG while remembering it is the players game not the referees. In lopsided matches I am less inclined to look for additional time to be added in all cases.

You are 100% correct, a foul that occurs in the last minute that you WOULD call in the first minute requires a whistle. Esse in 1998 World CUP shows this to be a FUNDEMENTAL aspect of why there are referees on the pitch to decide. Yet to look at the recent Panamanian versus Mexico match the referee Mark Geiger was the devil incarnate according to the Panamanian point of view. In the Esse match between Brazil and Norway, the world NOW agrees the ESSE made a spectacularly correct call and deserves praise for seeing it and having the courage to call the last minute PK that changed the results of the game. Mark Geiger not so much, yet if he called it as he see saw with equal integrity and courage, why is he vilified?
The emotional investment and need for results! If the call is at all suspect it results in devastating consequences.
This affects the professional teams, the national teams, the state cup championships, the city tournament to advance to the state/provincial cup, the league determination of standings which get you into the state cup/provincial play offs at the city tournament! A referee has both duty and obligation to apply the LOTG as a neutral observer without being overtly creative, inventive or concerned with outcome and most of all have the courage and integrity of conviction to apply the LOTG.
Yet if you are refereeing a group of school kids who are in a friendly league where results are not of particular importance to either. It is cold, rainy, blowing, the kids are shivering, some as blue as the kit they are wearing. Both sets of coaches asking for the match to be over while you look for time to be added with a score line of unimportance 6 to 1. Playing in sweltering heat the ball goes well out into touch on a field open to the sky as far as the eye can see, the adult player retrieving the ball walks slowly to retrieve it as the sweat stings the eyes, players going to the touchlines to get a drink. Some laying on the ground, the score is tied but no one is hurrying to get that ball in play. Something is missing in these equations. The NEED to be a stickler. The match tells you whether your concern level is on high alert or low level rumblings.

We do not discount the tools of LOTG but we are permitted to use them to suit the needs of the match. Cards are tools and like any tool it has a purpose and a function! A Match is rather like an attitude engine but is it the sprint, porche or formula one race car version? The tools need to be upgraded to ensure the engine is running correctly. Sometimes a simple fine tuning, other times a major overhaul but what we feed into it, reflects the overall performance

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Regarding wasting time, I've often felt that if the team that was behind doesn't want to hustle, I'm not going to make them. I can always add time if needed. And that is one area where the score does make a difference. If a team is hopelessly behind, I'm not going to be adding very much time. Law 5 tells me that while I must make an allowance, the amount of that allowance is at my discretion.

Regarding not calling a last minute PK, by not calling it the game HAS been decided by the referee not doing his proper job.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
The easy answer is on the penalty kick call. It makes no difference if it is the first or last minute of the game. Anyone who says differently is doing refereeing a huge disservice.
As regards time wasting by a team losing heavily it is not so easy. Where goal difference is a factor then certainly the referee has to deal with any delays. If a team is trying to improve its goal difference then it has to matter and the referee will know only too well that extra goal matter. If it does not matter and the team is just being indifferent with no concern being expressed by the opponents then I would do my best to encourage play through talking with the players. Blow outs are never easy to referee. I had one recently and the losing side was only interested in the game ending. The winning side had little interest in piling on the misery and the game petered out into a meaningless contest. All delays were seen indifferently and I did not intervene. Had I done so it would have been viewed as the referee piling on the misery for the losing team in what was a one sided affair. At one point the losing team changed it goalkeeper and made a substitution which took an age. Not one player, coach etc made one comment. The old adage of Whose Game Is It? springs to mind. If the teams are not concerned about getting on with play then should the referee? I certainly would not

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