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Question Number: 31664

Other 7/30/2017

RE: Local rec Under 16

Spencer Staden of Sydney, nsw Australia asks...

Recently one of my players was tackled from behind and went to the ground injured. Both linesman flagged for play to be stopped but the ref played on. The ball shifted from one end of the pitch to another and despite calls for play to stop and for players to kick the ball out, play continued. Play continied for another minute at which time I entered the field of play as the coach, to attend the player ( child) still on the floor in pain. The ref saw this , stopped the game and after I said I would be making a report as this was unacceptable I was sent off. I have a duty of care to children I coach, as does the referee. I am facing a tribunal facing suspension for entering the field of play, and also for unsoorting behaviour and abusing the ref. There were no prior incidences. Does my duty of care to children not supersede the laws mentioned, and also should the ref have stopped play using the common sense rule?

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Spencer
At the tribunal you will be afforded the opportunity to put your side of the incident forward and for the tribunal to decide what sanction if any is appropriate. The tribunal will have the referees report and may ask the referee to attend to expand on what he wrote. The fact is that no one should enter the field of play without permission with perhaps the one exception of a head injury. If a substitute comes on without permission it is a caution. For me a coach coming on is a verbal warning and if it escalates into something more it can be a dismissal for acting in an irresponsible manner.
For what it is worth my experience is that entry to treat a player *only* would rarely attract such a response from a referee and it would rarely be sanctioned with a dismissal. It typically is a warning to wait until being called on. The verbal confrontation and threat that transpired I believe was the reason for the dismissal.
Knowing how these situations develop the coach or physio comes on and can get into a rant at the referee rather than treating the player. Over the years I have had plenty of technical staff coming on to give me a *piece of their mind* even perhaps when I have awarded a foul and sanctioned the foul with a card. It can be about a previous incident or unhappiness about calls not going their way. Never do they show the *concern* for the player by dealing with the injury ONLY yet use the situation to berate the referee. Many also do not have any first aid experience or capability and at best it is a very basic intervention such as using a water bottle or a spray and then assisting the player off.
And YES the referee has a duty of care to the players and he uses his judgement and the Law to deal with that. If the injury is serious the referee has the powers to stop the game (which should happen) and get the player assessed on the field of play. If it is not serious then play continues to the next stoppage and the referee requests technical staff to come on to assess the player and remove the player. That is a judgement call that referees have to make based on what they observe. Over a lifetime of refereeing I have never seen a serious injury for which play was not stopped. I have seen a multitude of minor injury stoppage including knocks, cramps, strains etc none of which required a stoppage nor would a delay in assessment have changed anything. I would also say that both teams have also a duty of care to each other. In the spirit of Fair Play many teams may not play on when a player is down injured for any length of time particularly in underage games that are played in a good spirit. Did the opponents like the referee not believe that the injury was serious enough to warrant stopping play and therefore were waiting until the ball was out of play for assessment to happen?
Many referees at Underage levels do not want the hassle of dealing with irate parents or coaches nor do they want to take a risk so they stop for every single injury and that is their prerogative. It is in the eye of the beholder as to what they believe is serious or not. I stopped an U16 game at the weekend for an injury to a player that had slide off the field of play making contact with a post. It did not look all that serious yet the coach showed little interest in coming on quickly to deal with the player. I could have told the player to stay off the FOP, restarted play immediately yet I chose otherwise as the incident happened at the furthermost point from the technical area and a straight run across the FOP was *quickest*. I was under pressure to restart by the opponents who were behind in the game yet in the spirit of Fair Play they did not make an issue of it for me or the game.
My take on all this is that if the ethos of FIFAs Fair Play was espoused by everyone at the game there would be no issues to deal with. Unfortunately that did not happen.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

I was with you all the way, until you said your hearing included a charge of abusing the ref. I realize it's all he-said-he-said at this point. But no matter what the performance of a referee, there is no reason for abuse.

That said, if a player goes down and stays down, the referee is responsible to check on a possible serious injury. There is no need for players to kick the ball out to stop the game. The ref should stop it. Granted, your idea and the ref's idea of the severity of an injury could vary. Still, most U16 players will be up and at'm again in a short time unless the injury is serious.

Technically you were in the wrong to enter the field without the permission of the referee. Sometimes we have to be in the wrong to be right. If that was the only charge against you for the hearing, you should be able to present your story and not suffer any other sanctions against you. But again, there's that pesky abuse charge hanging over your head.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Spencer,
I have no idea as to the make up or the characteristics of those who will be on the disciplinary review committee. They may want you to explain your view of things. They may well have interviewed others, you said the two ARs wanted play stopped? If they read the reports or encouraged the referee to expand his reasoning, possibly viewed a video of the event, perhaps already arrived at a decision? Of course all adults should have the kids welfare as a priority but perspective is a funny thing often viewed through the distorted lenses of opinions.

When you publically challenge the authority of the referee which is your right of free will, do not expect it will sit well with the official you berate! I personally have zero sympathy with coaches that feel their concern is greater than mine when it comes to the welfare of our children on the pitch. I can sympathize with their emotional connection when it does occur but no one, no where is any more concerned than myself if I believed a child is at risk. It is hard for me to think other referee are not of similar character regardless of their officiating skills.

Yes at times players can get a knock or hurt and it is conceivable we miss a crucial piece of the puzzle but unless the player is obviously concussed or unconscious' screaming in agony or gushing blood there is often no reason to stop play to allow a winded, tired, sore or feigning player to stop dynamic play. That said we stop for a blubbery 5 year old almost all of the time

As a coach I have certainly been irritated at referees who seem to allow certain harsh incident go unpunished. I have voiced concern, been told to shut up or else, but I have never been overly disrespectful to a referee no matter how much I disagreed with their handling of a situation. I certainly have reported them but I also praise them because I want them to get better! I have called the local assessors. I have phoned field coordinators to come down to a frozen field to explain to me how a referee thought it prudent to play on it? I take my players safety very seriously but realize if you go so far to take a principled stand you better have REAL SOLID FOOTING! To walk on the field and disrupt active play or pull a team you are inviting huge trouble and repercussions.

Look at the last World Cup when the referee awarded a free kick in Germany's favour for the knee thrown into the head of the Argentinian striker by the German keeper. Instead of a PK and the keeper expelled I could imagine an Argentinian coach seeing the event clearly might well go bat crap crazy at the outcome & end up being tossed for venting his, in my opinion, rightful outrage. The fact they know what WOULD happen is why they most often do not! Fines suspensions expulsion.

If there is anything positive about video is it is a good tool to review certain aspects of a match but mostly respect and responsible behaviour is the lifeblood of Fair Play. When you see something wrong, record, report, try to do what is right by not tearing the referee down in front of everyone . Good or bad, right or wrong, most are volunteers and most are not there to try to do poorly despite what you might think.

I know how difficult it can be to reign in the passion angst and criticism when in your opinion the referee is just not at the top of his or her game but IF we are at the top of ours from the touchlines we need to ensure the situation is not escalated just because we are angry at a non decision. Unless I was aware my player was dying I sub him off at the next opportunity if the referee is not stopping play. I might shake my head look pleadingly at the AR shrug my shoulders but it is ALWAYS a bad idea to directly confront a referee .

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