Soccer Referee Resources
Ask a Question
Recent Questions

RSS FEED Subscribe Now!

Q&A Quick Search
The Field of Play
The Ball
The Players
The Players Equipment
The Referee
The Other Match Officials
The Duration of the Match
The Start and Restart of Play
The Ball In and Out of Play
Fouls and Misconduct
Free Kicks
Penalty kick
Throw In
Goal Kick
Corner Kick

Common Sense
Kicks - Penalty Mark
The Technical Area
The Fourth Official
Attitude and Control
League Specific
High School

Common Acronyms
Meet The Ref
Contact AskTheRef
Help Wanted
About AskTheRef
Panel Login

Question Number: 32147

Other 1/6/2018

RE: Under 15

Jeff Banks of Captain Cook, USA asks...

Is there a difference between referring girls v boys? Even though the same laws are applied, I have heard that there are differences in referee techniques in maintaining control of the match.

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Jeff,
Having refereed both boys and girls (including mixed or 'co-ed' games) I wouldn't say there are really any different refereeing techniques that are used. I have heard it said that female players sometimes take retaliation in a less immediate manner than male players and so that is something that referees should bear in mind. However, that is not something that I personally have encountered and in any event would not represent so much a 'technique' as a matter of awareness, even if it did occur.

Read other questions answered by Referee Peter Grove

View Referee Peter Grove profile

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Jeff,
despite the physical differences I apply the LOTG remain pretty much the same with possibly hair pulling a woman's game anomaly and arms over breast to a greater degree . I have only ever seen it with the ladies game. Funny enough spitting, scratching and biting all carry over to both sexes. lol I think the ladies like being treated as equals and appreciate a referee who gives them the respect they deserve. I actually enjoy the ladies or women matches and find if we do not downplay or patronize their skill sets they find a greater degree of enjoyment. Bigoted referees that often remark crudely or give unfavorable comments like watching woman's soccer is like watching paint dry should refuse these matches as I believe they do the lasses a disservice!

I do find it interesting that some of the foulest dissent was derived from a season I had with the u-18 side of relatively skilled ladies with a BIG chip on their shoulders to which I attributed to their parents noting the comments off the touchline and matching the family connections.

I noted some coaches in the youth girls matches would often freak out if I failed to respond adequately or quickly to a supposed injury or physical contact particularly if the keeper was involved or a player would crumple to the ground and not immediately arise. A case could be made for injury stoppages to sooth feelings rather than repair injuries might lead to less venting that I was an unfeeling dictator. Although I did not always stop immediately just because some contact occurred! I always considered the safety of my charges no matter what anyone else chose to think!

Read other questions answered by Referee Richard Dawson

View Referee Richard Dawson profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Jeff
I recall watching a video given by a referee who was of the opinion that there were subtle differences. The Laws are the same yet she looked at the Ladies game from a psychology point of view. She felt that men tended to respond more physically than women who spoke more.
Women players tend to take a hard foul committed against a teammate as an attack against their entire team. Women 'feel' fouls suffered by their team members and in addition have long memories regarding rough treatment by opponents. Men will retaliate for a hard or unfair challenge almost immediately in most cases. Women are much more patient than men to take retribution. It is not uncommon as a referee to deal with an incident in a match between opponents only to discover later that it is retribution for a clash, which may have occurred more than a season ago and the hard feelings still linger. After a physical game, men are much more inclined to shake hands and forgive than women.
Also positioning can be a factor at restarts where the ball is not kicked as far, throw ins tend to be shorter and to feet more, punts tend to be shorter etc. Free Kicks also require consideration for referee positioning. Male players have much more success on free kicks using their physical strength while in women's football free kicks regularly offer intricate passing or great precision. In addition it has been noted that women's games are made up of many more short passes than you will normally see in a men's match. This can be attributed to the physical strength differences between men and women.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe McHugh

View Referee Joe McHugh profile

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

The second most dangerous high school sport after football in terms of injuries and concussions is girls soccer. High elbows, reckless play and retaliations are thought to be some of the reasons for these injuries and concussions.

It is my feeling that officials do not call girls' soccer as strictly as they do boys' soccer. Two of the reasons for this calling differential may be the belief that the girls are not as skilled and that fouls are not intentional.

Whatever the reason, I believe that the calling of girls' soccer needs to be more focused on the fouls and misconduct than is the current practice. The referee must start calling strictly early on in the game, and heavily penalize elbowing, reckless play and retaliation. Hopefully, you will be one referee that does this.

I hope that you have a very successful officiating year.

Read other questions answered by Referee Joe Manjone

View Referee Joe Manjone profile

Ask a Follow Up Question to Q# 32147
Read other Q & A regarding Other

Soccer Referee Extras

Did you Ask the Ref? Find your answer here.

Enter Question Number

If you received a response regarding a submitted question enter your question number above to find the answer

Offside Question?

Offside Explained by Chuck Fleischer & Richard Dawson, Former & Current Editor of AskTheRef

This web site and the answers to these questions are not sanctioned by or affiliated with any governing body of soccer. The opinions expressed on this site should not be considered official interpretations of the Laws of the Game and are merely opinions of AskTheRef and our panel members. If you need an official ruling you should contact your state or local representative through your club or league. On AskTheRef your questions are answered by a panel of licensed referees. See Meet The Ref for details about our panel members.