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Question Number: 31239

Law 5 - The Referee 2/8/2017

RE: Rec Adult

Russell of Sydney, Australia asks...

Abandon match.

This a follow up to something Ref Dawson mentioned in his reply to an earlier post from Gary of Niagara Falls - post 31225).

One thing Ref Dawson mention was, that he wished he had abandoned a particular some years ago.

He had said...'I refereed a youth match in my early days where the local team thugged their way to 7 players by repeated reckless and serious foul play against a much better visiting Mexican team. I regret to this day for not abandoning that match as I walked away from it...'

Maybe there was more to that match then could be expressed in relation to Gary's original post, however, from what Ref Dawson did indicate, it seems like that although they reduced the other team to seven players via the dark art means - there was still seven players, so what would be the basis to abandoned the match.

I note that the LOTG indicate (under Liabilities of a Match Official p51) that a match official can '...abandon a match for any reason.'.

Can Ref Dawson please elaborate the basis for an abandonment. What would be written in the match report.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Russell,
GLADLY You were afraid for the SAFETY of the players!
safety of those playing ,attitude of coaching, attitude of spectators encouraging the fouls, persistent infringements. I reduced to 7 by sending off via two cautions or a direct red 4 players on the pitch and one substitute off the pitch. Nearly every player was on a caution as they simply could not contend with the greater skill and constantly fouled Multiple appeals to the coaching staff to calm the touchlines. What was supposed to be a friendly was anything but. The number of hobbling players made me realize if I had done my job and sent off one more I could have ended it. Frankly, in retrospect I was surprised the Mexican coach allowed his team to stay on the pitch as he was in debate about pulling his team. I was far too lenient likely because I was in shock and I was in partial disbelief myself. I had stopped the match and threatened to abandon at least twice, wish I had as it served no purpose to continue! I failed as a referee that day! I would never permit such a farce again.

In my match report I told the league I would no longer referee in that town again! Not the first time that team was guilty of poor quality and dangerous play . My first yellow in that match SHOULD have been a direct red but I too was caught up in its a friendly exhibition thinking what a shame to abandon. I was too inexperienced to realize the folly of my actions in prolonging something that needed to be stopped! Not to say there are reasons for some shortages to continue as you alluded to earlier. Good sportsmanship is something rather like integrity either you have it or you do not!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

A referee can abandon the game for any reason he sees fit. I saw a referee abandon a game because of a brawl between players that escalated into substitutes getting involved. The referee was concerned for the safety of the players had the match continued so he simply abandoned the game.
The match report would just state what happened and that the referee was concerned for player safety so he abandoned the game.
I once abandoned a game because spectators came on to the field of play to fight with players. I just walked off and reported what happened and my safety concerns had play continued. It certainly brought the situation to a swift conclusion with players then coming into the changing rooms to ask for the game to continue. Those requests fell on deaf ears.
Many referees can be concerned about reputational damage about abandoning a game for reasons other than say weather, light etc. They may feel that it shows lack of match control or whatever. Personally I would rather deal with that than seeing someone getting badly injured through retribution for a team poor behaviour or indeed one own personal safety being compromised by teams / players that are out of control.

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