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Question Number: 31514

Law 5 - The Referee 5/7/2017

RE: Competitive Under 15

John Nagel of Wilmette, IL USA asks...

Do the laws permit a CR to formally caution a coach for dissent? Or is the only formal remedy for persistent coach dissent a dismissal? Law 5.3 makes clear that the CR can dismiss a coach (CR may 'take[] action against team officials who fail to act in a responsible manner and may expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds'), but I see no clear authority to caution a coach unless one reads that into the generic 'take[] action against team officials' in law 5.3.' I understand fully that the CR can informally warn a coach to try to remedy the situation. I am just trying to figure out if there is an interim step between informal warning and dismissal.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi John
Cards are not shown to coaches or technical staff. So the referee can verbally warn say a coach that continued irresponsible behaviour will result in the coach being removed. That is akin to a caution without the card being shown. Should the referee have to return to deal with continued irresponsible behaviour then the coach will be ejected again without a card.
The referee can eject without the warning should the need arise.

Here is USSFs advice on the Ask, Tell and Dismiss approach.
Some referee may use this stepped approach while others may use the ask and tell together as the warning followed by the ejection,
It is up to the referee to manage each situation as it arises. If the coach does does not change his behaviour then he did not heed the referees cautionary instruction in the same way as a player does not heed the yellow card as part of that cautioning process and he is removed.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI John,
I believe in USA high school and in many youth leagues the associations actually encourage their referees in showing of cards for NOT only technical staff but parents as well? Not sure on the school thing but I have no real abhorrence to it being done if true!
FIFA LOTG still do not use cards to show disciplinary action to non players although the LOTG now hold all technical staff to the same restart values when it comes to penal foul actions. Personally I think it a foolish distinction. Showing the card is but a communication device.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi John,
If by 'formally caution' you mean show a yellow card, then no, the Laws do not permit this. As Ref McHugh says verbal warnings of escalating severity can be given before finally dismissing a coach. I suppose a referee could theoretically give additional interim warnings if so desired but too many warnings without taking any action might tend to damage the referee's match control. The coach can be also dismissed outright if the misconduct is egregious enough.

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