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Question Number: 31412

Law 5 - The Referee 3/31/2017

RE: competitive Adult

Fidel Jaary of Mt Roskill, Auckland, Auckland New Zealand asks...

At the time of the toss, what do referees say to both captains.

If you could help me answer this question i would be grateful.



Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Fidel
The pleasantries part is very much up to the referee. He can shake hands and make a welcome comment and introduce the ARs to the captains. The referee could comment on any unusual conditions such as pre existing conditions such as overhanging trees, high wires, lines from other sports etc and how that would be dealt with. He might mention the weather conditions or any other factor that might affect the game such as available light
The referee then introduces any competition rules such as that if it is a cup tie that the game has to be ended, the length of extra time and kicks from the Penalty mark in the event of a tie.
Finally the referee will introduce the toss and ask the winning team captain to chose ends with the losing team getting kick off.
If I am on my own in a regular league game it is a very simple hand shake with both captains, a quick coin toss, ask the winning captain as to what way he wants to play and then get the game going.
On the coin toss it is a matter of personal preference as to how the referee handles that. Some allow the visiting captain to call. The important part is that the toss is managed correctly with no ambiguity as to what transpired. I have a coin with HOME on one side and AWAY on the other. I do not need any captain to call and I just toss and announce that the HOME / AWAY side has won depending on which side it falls on. Most tosses are by rote yet ensure that there is no issue. I recall reading about a coin toss involving Liverpool and Manchester United. There was a spat about what was called by the captains and the outcome which was a bad start. Yes sometimes direction of okay is important while other times it is not so.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Fidel,
You'll find that different referees take different approaches here. My approach is much in line with Ref McHugh.
Some referees like to give a fairly big spiel - in my experiences, the players have heard it all before, they don't care and they're not listening. Comments such as 'play the ball', 'don't argue', 'watch the shirt pulling' - they don't mean anything in my opinion. Set the standard once the game has started and these incidents start occurring. I've seen some prematch talks go for so long - or some of the comments are so, shall we say, interesting - that I've seen the players glance at each other and smirking - in short, that the referee is already losing respect before the match has started!
My view is that nothing needs to be said. The players know the game and know the laws as much as they're going to. Like Ref McHugh I find it a great opportunity to highlight any particular concerns though - for instance, if the field has different coloured lines for different sports, it's a good chance to point out which colour we're playing to but remind the players that if they forget and commit a foul (eg keeper carrying it outside the PA) or an incorrect throw then you have to pull them up on it. In preseason matches I like to highlight any law changes or local directives of particular significance.
Usually, my prematch chat is a smile, shake of the hand and the coin toss.
But in the area I've most recently refereed in, a prematch discussion seems conventional. So, no reason to stand out by bucking the trend. In this instance, it's usually just to the captains - so I'll remind them that they're the captains for a reason, I'd like them to help look after their teams before they cross the line and I might even ask them for help in that - because they don't want me to be the one dealing with the players once they have crossed that line.
But aside from that, you can't go wrong with a FIRM handshake, a smile, 'all the best for today guys, now John, you're the away captain, heads or tails?'
I've always stuck to doing the coin toss myself, but the away team calls heads or tails.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Fidel,
As my colleagues have said, it is up to the referee what to say but I agree with them that in the majority of cases (and with the exceptions they mention) there is nothing much that needs to be said. Just greet the captains, conduct the coin toss and get on with it.

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