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Question Number: 30484

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 6/6/2016

RE: Over 45 ligue Adult

Sava of Halifax, Canada asks...


I was playing the game on weekend and I got the yellow card because of raising the voice on my teammate. After the opponent team scored the goal I asked my goalkeeper (I did not shout however) with the raised voice 'Why did you stay on line - why' and I repeat that one more time. It was no swearing, no bad words. The referee gave me yellow card saying that I can't talk with my own teammates like that. None of the opponent players were involved and all that happen after the goal was scored. Neither the goalkeeper was protesting because of my behaviour, neither I was affecting play time in any way..... I never heard for anybody getting the yellow card because of that or similar thing. I did ask couple of referees which play with me on team - they said that they do not know for any rule about that. Do you know? or do you have any clue why I got that yellow card? The explanation from referee was - you can't talk with people like that.

Thank you.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Sava
A number of years ago two Newcastle United players were sent off for fighting with each other. The referee deemed it to be violent conduct. Generally when players are fighting it is with opponents not team mates so it was pretty unusual dismissal.
Now in this case the referee took exception to the manner in which you spoke to a team mate and you were cautioned for unsporting behaviour. Most referees would let this slide particularly when there were no swear words involved and it was a team mate. Also referees expect that team mates can and do berate each other for poor play. At the Pro level it happens quite regularly with no action taken by the referee.
Was the referee entitled to do so? Simple technical answer is yes although it rarely happens. In the past I have spoken to players about there behaviour towards team mates. The referee has to control the behaviour of all 22 player along with the technical staff. If the referee believes that behaviour towards any person including a team mate is out of order he can take whatever action he deems appropriate in the circumstances.

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Answer provided by Referee James Sowa


In general a referee will not sanction two teammates for yelling at each other. However, if the referee feels that the disagreement crosses the line between sporting and unsporting then a caution is possible. I would guess this is the case in this scenario. Though it is rare, I would guess your argument was caused by what the referee deemed as unsporting behavior.

That said, based on what was presented in your question, let me give you a couple of things to ponder. How had the game been going for your team? Specifically, was there a high level of frustration and had any of that frustration been directed at the referee? If so, is it possible that the referee misinterpreted the yelling as directed at himself instead of the goalkeeper? Also, if there were assistant referees on the game, based on what you were saying to the keeper, it could be misconstrued as an attack on the AR in which case the referee may be cautioning you for dissent.

Like I said, as presented, this decision seems a bit harsh but think about the questions I have laid out above and whether they may have had a role in why the caution was shown.

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