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Question Number: 31237

Law 5 - The Referee 2/7/2017

RE: Under 14

bob of ny, ny usa asks...

What should the typical plan of action be for removing unruly parents from sidelines of games? I do youth soccer, so I am specifically talking parents. I assume that higher level games like high school, college, etc you have security that can remove these people

I have been told that you should not interact with parents and instead go right to the coach and have them deal with the parent and if they do not, you say you will abandon the match.

For me, I do not really care about a parent yelling at me, I just ignore them. But I have had instances where the parents actually get in yelling matches with other parents or even opposing young players on the field (pathetic, I know) and have literally made the sidelines move to opposite sides of the field to separate them

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Bob,
well not all venues have security that police spectator actions but MOST association have guidelines and bylaws of codes of conduct or the right to participate and hold those who act irresponsibly accountable for their actions.

In some cases some coaches are asked to intervene on behalf of the association desire to assist the referee in controlling matches. A referee can terminate or abandon if the safety of themselves or the kids is at all threatened . A very serious event and likely to cause some severe repercussions for someone.

Often there are guidelines for the separation of spectators 1 team either side of the pitch or both teams on one side and spectators on the other. Intelligent field markings and stands offer a degree of separation but I would agree with those who recommend you go to the coach and explain that if the situation is not fixed to your satisfaction you could abandon. Sometimes by publically declaring your intentions the other touchline spectator might pressure those being idiotic to desist but confrontation is not an easily faced obstacle to overcome!
As an adult referee I interact with spectators before a match to help foster communication and understanding of the LOTG, safety issues etc.. but generally try not to during a match if I can avoid it! That said I have no compunction about calling for police or security if those in attendance are creating an ugly public spectacle. Most policing agencies are happy to support youth sports and if they can dispatch a nearby patrol to observe disorderly public events. Our local bylaws permit the banning of individuals from the park and police are authorized to detain those who try defy that ban. Also the parents as well as the coaches players and referees all sign codes of conduct at the season start outlining behavioural norms and list the punishment for failing to act appropriately.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

In high school, the referee asks the Game Manager to remove the unruly fan. Every high school game is to have a game manager. In many instances it is the athletic director, principal or assistant principal of the host school. if it is a tournament, then it would be the tournament manager or a designee. This person is also responsible for providing security which may include security on site or summoning security. Upon arrival at the game, the referee should meet the game manager and find out where he or she can be located during the game. In college games, there may be security on site who may be asked to remove a fan. If there is no security, the hosting school coach is responsible. I hope that you are having a successful season.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

The home club is responsible for spectator control and managing the sidelines. If there is an issue with spectators my advice is to ask the home team to deal with it. They might not want to yet it is the home teams responsibility. As a referee I would not be getting involved with spectators on the sidelines.
If it is not managed or the team refuses to šeal with it then the game is over. I once had spectator misbehaviour in a game and I went to the home club official asking them to sort it. They initially refused citing that it was not their responsibility. I told them it was and if it was not sorted I was going home. It got sorted very quickly and I nor the game had any further problems.

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