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Question Number: 31070

Other 11/29/2016

RE: 07+ Adult

max tilford of arcadia, ok oklahoma asks...

what specific rule has a referee broken if he/she shows up at a match after drinking alcohol (ie, drunk) and then is observed to drink an alcoholic beverage during halftime?
I have looked at USSF policy 531-10 and these procedures apply for 'misconduct'. Where is it specifically stated that such offenses as above are misconduct? Or is it simply bringing the game into disrepute?

obviously it happened. It has been reported. but what specific rule/law was violated?


Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Max
This is a very serious issue and needs to be reported immediately to the relevant League and referee authorities. If I was a coach in such a circumstance I would not allow the game to go ahead and refuse to play.
Once proven the referee can expect a very strong sanction of a suspension from refereeing as the referee has violated Referee Code of Ethics, Referee regulations and brought refereeing into disrepute.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

H Max ,
while it might be classified a part of the unwritten LOTG (law 18 common sense) given sense is not as common through the world as it should be the life laws of integrity accountability and responsibility seems pretty violated should a referee show up at a match drunk or requiring alcohol to get him through.

Law 5 deals with the referee responsibilities and duties although it does say if a referee is incapacitated, play may continue under the supervision of the other match officials until the ball is next out of play. That though reflects an injury or feeling ill situation, although alcohol can be looked at as a sickness in many cases, it simply can not be permitted. I get that a cool beer might be a treat on a hot day at halftime in a friendly match with no real consequences on the line but in any even remotely competitive match the codes of conduct and general appearances of neutrality are just stretched to far to accommodate such antics. Not saying a single beer puts your decision making under par but we are to avoid even the appearance of impropriety as part of the responsibility of the JOB we are hired for!

The LOTG give a brief synopsis of liability of officials but it lists within there are requirements of conduct and code not specified in the LOTG but are within the FIFA organization, pointing out they expect normal procedures required to hold, play and control a match. The last bullet then uses a description which puts some onus of regulation back to the ROC. We all know that stress has a price and we all know that many people seek help for addictions or apologise for lapses of judgment. We all know that showing up inebriated at a soccer match to referee is wrong. Not sure that concept fully escapes many who attend the matches given the antics in the stands at times.

FIFA does have the Ethics Committee

The investigatory chamber investigates possible violations of the FIFA Code of Ethics and is free to open preliminary proceedings at its own discretion and at any time as well as based on a filed complaint, which may not be challenged.

The adjudicatory chamber renders decisions independently on the basis of the findings of the investigatory chamber. When deciding whether to accept or reject proceedings, the chairperson of the adjudicatory chamber is obliged to assess the final report that it has received from the investigatory chamber.

FIFA has two books, one on codes of conduct and another on codes of ethics

FIFA Code of Conduct defines core values and principles and applies to all members of the FIFA family, namely:

This Code shall apply to conduct that damages the integrity and reputation of football and in particular to illegal, immoral and unethical behaviour. The Code focuses on general conduct within association football that has little or no connection with action on the field of play and it shall apply to all officials and players .

As my colleagues have stated, if proven to be true, the official is likely to be suspended or banned from participation. The onus of his match his decision his reputation would then be in tatters. Life choices have lifetime consequences.

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