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Question Number: 32038

Law 12 - Fouls and Misconduct 11/20/2017

RE: Adult

Jim Muirhead of Kilmarnock, East Ayrshire United Kingdom asks...

Can a junior player be sent of for punching a spectator whos giving him abuse

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jim
Most certainly yes and there is no debate about it. A player that uses violent conduct against anyone including spectators MUST be dismissed.
The Law has been spelled out more clearly in recent times. This is what the Laws of the Game currently states and I quote
**Violent conduct is when a player uses or attempts to use excessive force or brutality against an opponent when not challenging for the ball, or against a team-mate, team official, match official, spectator or any other person, regardless of whether contact is made.**
So no doubt whatsoever that punching a spectator is a red card offence.
Now hindsight is 20/20 vision. A player that is receiving abuse from the side-line is entitled to ask the referee to intervene. The referee should ask the home club to deal with the abuse either by getting it stopped or arranging for the removal of the perpetrator from the ground by club officials or stewards. At lower levels of the game that is not always possible and players should never intervene with person coming on to the field of play or getting involved off the field of play and it should be left to the home club to deal with.
The most recent high level one of these was Patrice Evra of Olympique de Marseille who was red carded before a recent game for kicking a supporter. UEFA has decided to suspend Patrice Evra until 30 June 2018 from all UEFA club competition matches for which he would be otherwise eligible. In addition, the player has been fined 10,000 euros.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Jim,
violence CAN NOT be tolerated on or off the pitch. So yes the young player will be held accountable for his actions. It is likely a red card and a send off possibly reducing his team by a player if it occurs when he is considered as a player not a substitute. That said if the CR or AR or coach is aware of spectator abuse directed at the players it is their RESPONSIBILITY To ensure it stops!

Good natured ribbing is fine as part of competition but there are lines that should not be crossed! ESPECIALLY in youth matches! Particularly if racial or vulgar slurs are being over heard.

Bring in security if applicable, get the coaches of both team to intercede, make it known as CR to the teams that this targeted behaviour by those disrupting the match is not to be tolerated & the match could be halted until their removal
Protecting the safety of the players includes shielding them from unwarranted interference at a FUN game designed to be played fairly! Codes of conduct and league bylaws should be part of the structure to control abuse in ANY form at ALL levels!

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