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Question Number: 31522

High School 5/10/2017

RE: School Team High School

JW of Carrollton, GA United States asks...

We were the visiting team in the state semi-finals last night. Our team was up 1-0 at the half. About 7 minutes after the half, one of the opposing team's players was given a red card for spitting at one of our players. Immediately, 2 student fans from the opposing teams left the stands and ran toward the field; a third fan threw a water bottle that almost hit an official. The officials immediately left the field and went to the field house. The two students who ran on the field were removed by administrator/school resource officer. No one attempted to find and remove the bottle thrower. An announcement was made over the PA that all fans (visitors and home team) must clear the stadium if the game was to be finished. We all exited, except for administrators of the home team, and the stadium gates were locked. My question is: what is the typical protocol for dealing with this situation; shouldn't efforts have been made to deal with the offending student fans before clearing the stadium? and Was discontinuing the game at that point an option?

There was an immediate swing in momentum at that point toward the home team, who ended up winning 2-1 even though they were a man down. It was a tight game, and they may very well have ended up winning either way, but it felt like an even worse way to end the season.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI JW,
sometimes stuff just happens and does not go our way! I just watched a couple of NHL hockey matches where my team lost 2 matches due to terrible officiating as the video replay clearly showed undisputable offside goals & goal tender interference. In your situation the removal of all the spectators was likely due to not being able to single out those doing the misdeeds and the concern for the safety of the players and officials. I am not that familiar with USA high school protocols although I am sure our experts who are will jump in later with a more detailed explanation. I can only assume there was ugly retorts and actions noticed from both sides regardless of fault or blame and the clear the field mandate was the one the officials decided upon as in the best interest of safety. I suspect if the field was not cleared that might have prompted discontinuing the match! Sorry to see your season end on a low note!
Cheers



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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi JW
Each situation has to be treated on its own merits based on the circumstances on the day.
I suppose there were a number of options which included the one that was taken on the day or the identification of the offenders who are ejected from the stadium or the abandonment of the game.
I think that removing everyone may have seemed somewhat harsh to those present particularly when many are simply there watching the game in a quiet peaceful manner. Why three offenders can be allowed spoil it for others who have traveled to see the game is somewhat disappointing to me.
Now perhaps there are other reasons such as previous history of misbehaviour, the referee crew may have felt intimidated by the bottle throwing incident or for that matter it is protocol for such situations. I suspect concern by the referee crew and game manager that matters could turn ugly was the main factor.
I would hope that the offenders were identified and suitable disciplinary action taken against them. It is always disappointing when a few hooligans spoil the game for the many.



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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

JW,
In high school, there is a game manager assigned to every contest. If officials or teams have problems with spectators, they are to inform the game manager who is to deal with the problem. The referee can also terminate a game if he/she feels that it is dangerous to proceed with the game. In this case, I feel that the game manager made the right decision, because other acts of violence most likely would have occurred, and most likely the referee was considering terminating the game. Hopefully, the winning school will take disciplinary action against the involved students. As You said, it is not a very positive way to end the season.



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