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Question Number: 31614

Law 5 - The Referee 6/21/2017

RE: Amateur Adult

Amy Lloyd of Santa Cruz, California USofA asks...

In a match report filed 2 years ago by a referee I have now found 'alternate facts.' To be blunt, this referee has lied about incidents and anyone reading the description will not find anything wrong as it would appear justifiable. One incident is described as player swore looking at ground, instead of what the player actually had done, look at the referee and shouted 'Why cant we **beeping** start?' at kick-off after goal. In another incident description, player showed finger walking toward him instead of player actually walking away waving in a dismissing 'whatever' manner.

I find this not only unprofessional but also unethical. What course of action is there? This is so wrong on many counts.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Amy,
There is a famous old saying by Alexander Pope about judgement that is just as true (if not more so) in regard to memory: '' 'Tis with our judgments as our watches, none go just alike, yet each believes his own.''

So while we can't rule out the possibility that the referee was misrepresenting things and your recall is correct, given the inherent fallibility of both human observational powers and human memory and in view of the amount of time that has elapsed, then I am wondering if this might be a case of two different views of the same events. I would imagine for instance, that the referee might be equally convinced that their version of the incidents is correct and I would say that all things considered, a set of contemporaneous notes taken at the time (the referee's report) is often felt to carry more weight than an individual's memory if it comes to any kind of review procedure. So absent an audio/video recording (which you don't mention) it could be difficult to be 100% sure which is correct.

I would also have to say that the differences you describe seem relatively minor. Whether the player was looking at the ground or the referee, they have still used offensive language and in the second one, if the referee perceived an offensive gesture, it also doesn't become inoffensive if the player was walking in a different direction (which again, could just be a matter of perspective).

Ultimately, I would seriously doubt whether any action could (or would) be taken so long after the event.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Amy
In Hamlet Shakespeare Polonius says * To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.*
As we have said so many times on the site, integrity and honesty are important traits for referees. Like in all walks of life there are a few in the game whose integrity is questionable. We all at times come across situations where that integrity has been questioned and it is not a good place for referees to be in. I have been given *facts* by clubs of certain events and I do not know if they are right or wrong although I have suspicions based on my experience of how events play out and the reputation of those involved. I heard a verbal complaint recently against a referee and from my knowledge my immediate reaction was that it did not happen as recounted. When I made further inquiries my suspicions were well founded and the complaint was untrue.
I can assure you that the opinion of certain referees by some in the game can be poor based on poorly handled indiscipline cases, their handling of games and lack of integrity. Having said that I would think that these same individuals are none too bothered about their reputation and they are only concerned when sanction such as a suspension is levied on them as a result of misconduct. The chances of securing a misconduct suspension is pretty low unless the complainant has independent irrefutable verifiable evidence such as a video, testimony of an observer, credible third party evidence etc. to put to a disciplinary panel on foot of a complaint. Certainly events that are 2 years old are outside the games unstated statute of limitations as there is a timeframe of generally 7/10 days for appeals, complaints to be dealt with. End of season is the ultimate cut off point. No soccer body is going to do anything with events of two years ago unless it is under investigation by the police or the authorities
So my advice here is that if I am not directly involved is to file this away, use it as a tool to remind oneself and indeed others of the importance of integrity. If one does anything else the mechanisms to address it are gone and it is only relevant to those that were directly affected at the time in this case two players. Its well forgotten by those methinks
I can look back at a lifetime in refereeing knowing that not once did I compromise my integrity by doing something that was unprofessional or unethical.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Amy,
integrity is a characteristic one chooses to have as it is the gift of self respect you award yourself. NO One can take it from you! Others might PERCIEVE an event different and cast aspersions but YOU in your heart know what you SAW and WHAT you did! I echo my colleagues that in all the years I have been active as a referee I KNOW not once did I ever try to misrepresent what I believed occurred!

Yes there are the occasional incidents where referees are induced to lie usually money gambling or coercion (threats to family) to influence an outcome!

In the recreational arena though it hardly seems plausible but if a referee is deliberately falsifying reports as retribution or in anger at a player just because he or she is vindictive and malicious then you better have a TON of solid evidence supporting such a claim as LAW 5 in the LOTG pretty much give a referee a free pass on whether we like or dislike his actions as to how they influence a match. ONLY if the LOTG laws are incorrectly applied can protests be successful and even then time lines 24 hrs to 3 - 7 days and costs can be involved in actually doing anything about them!

I recall an incident in which I was accused of lying about an event I saw on the FOP to the point the father of the affected player wanted to fight me. Now I do not cast doubt on his love as a father protecting his daughter but the sheer idiocy of accepting his anger at face value is ludicrous because what he claims is simply untrue based on MY angle of view, my determination of the facts; I know what I saw and I am satisfied it was correct.

I can not adjust my opinion just because a player gets hurt playing a game where when you run at top speed and a back spinning ball looped over the top hits the ground and actually reverses it direction so that a pursuing defender desperately tries to stop and play the ball against her chest the following attacker runs into the arm of the defender because she was unprepared for the sudden stop.

Dad and team supports think elbow to head by the dirty defender!
NO , it was head into arm by the striker running at top speed unprepared for the stoppage thinking they were going to pursue a through ball not one that has huge back spin against a prevailing wind and suddenly reverses direction.

The defender did exactly as I would have, while the striker had her head down stride for stride in pursuit but not eyes on the prize simply thinking to run past the defender. The defender did not cock an elbow and fire it back into her face as we HAVE seen such things as red card events designed to inflict damage in other circumstances .

The defender tried to play the ball I saw her startled face as she tried to adjust to the reversal of direction. The striker was unlucky I was right there, watching, I know it to be a fact, does not appease dad who thought his 18 year old daughter was unfairly elbowed in the face more a forearm into nose by my reckoning but you get perception and facts are not always in sync when it comes to truth.


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