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Question Number: 30407

Law 5 - The Referee 5/11/2016

RE: Recreational Under 15

Mike of Coudersport, PA USA asks...

Should a referee be coaching and instructing players during a game, and/or during the intermission of quarters?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Mike
Clearly the answer to that is no and it rarely if ever happens. The referee is a neutral official so I am not sure why he would be coaching or instructing? I know done referees who compliment players on play and that is not a good idea either.
Referees are always reminded that when they have a conflict of interest such as a relative playing or a close connection with a club that the referee should not officiate games involving that club / team. The suggestion of bias does not then arise. Even if there is no bias any conflict of interest will always negatively affect opinions.
Now I recall many years ago when a referee failed to show at a game and both clubs agreed that the coaches would officiate a half each. In that instance the coaches did coach before the game and at half time. Obviously it did not happen during the game .
Final point I would make is whether the referee was instructing on the Laws of the Game. A well minded referee might take it on himself during a rec game to instruct on the laws of the game. Clearly not a good idea if it is misconstrued as coaching play or tactics.



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Answer provided by Referee James Sowa

Mike,

At younger ages, referees act as both an official and to an extent as a teacher for some of the laws of the game. For instance, if the ball is touched before leaving the penalty area on a goal kick, the referee may explain that this is a requirement to the player. Similarly, for a foul, the referee might explain why it was a foul to the player. That said, as the age and skill level increases, the dialogue from the referee to the players should decrease.

As to tactics and playing style, the referee should never comment or 'coach' the players through the game.



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