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Question Number: 32566

Law 5 - The Referee 7/3/2018

RE: Rec Under 16

Larry of Danville, CA US asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32564

While I agree with your answers concerning parents complaining about throw ins, I don't think it should be ignored. We loose so many refs because of complaining fans, I think it is required for us to stand up to the ill informed at these lower ages and levels of play. This is especially true for experienced refs, who I believe are doing our newer refs a disservice by tuning out complaints. While we might be 'use to it' , ignoring the problem will not make it go away. I'm not advocating confronting the parents, but a word with the coach after the game would allow him/her to deal with the problem. Or if you are uncomfortable with that, send an email - directly or even through your assignor. A similar tactic should be followed with belligerent, or just ignorant coaches. I've had rec coaches complain to me about particular calls based on law, and while I don't try and get in a argument with them during the game when tensions are high, I have sent them a note afterwards. In general I believe most people are good - especially coaches who, like refs, are underpaid and underappreciated. When educated respectfully I think we can affect change in their behavior.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Larry
I see you took the educator part to heart good for you. It is indeed a good thing to try and share knowledge with those willing to listen. Our experiences on the pitch are generally irritated people not wanting to listen. Your ideas have merit and good on you for taking the time to do so. If you have read any of our responses over time you might note that I am a big proponent of education and pre and post league meeting or even before or after a match or season with a wiling audience is always doable if the association is proactive and receptive to sharing the game with one another. It is true that an adversarial attitude develops and it is indeed a detriment to the youth as we set poor examples . I wrote an article explaining how the perspective of how certain individuals view a match is different given the needs are different. A spectator sees what they think they see, a coach sees what he wants, a player what he feels, a referee sees what he sees but is only as good as his or her understanding of the LOTG .
By all means look for ways to mentor, educate, train and pass on useful information. Good leagues provide better avenues but personal dedication is certainly laudable!

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Larry,
When we say to ignore comments from spectators, that refers primarily to what the referee should do during or immediately after the game.

When it comes to trying to modify spectator behaviour, what you say could be applicable in certain competitions, such as youth-age recreation leagues where the coach or organisers might have the means to get in touch with the spectators, so in these situations it might well be worth trying. However it is probably not true for the majority of games played around the world where the coaches or competition organisers do not really have the means to control what the spectators do.

If you think that coach or spectator behaviour is sufficiently egregious it should certainly be reported to the competition authorities. Disciplinary action can be taken against coaches who misbehave and against clubs that fail to control their spectators but once again, whether these authorities have the means of altering the majority of football fans' long term behaviour is not certain.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Larry
Your points are noted.
My experience, for what it is worth in a different country and environment, was reflected in my answer.
Coaches rarely bother about spectators except where it has the outcome of ending the game and in many instances they can be very reluctant to get involved. Assignor are non too bothered either unless it ends up with a serious disciplinary situation or an abandonment.
In my answer I suggested that the referee clearly indicated verbally that there was nothing wrong in the action. It shows that the referee has seen the incident and he has opined that there is nothing wrong.
In respect of confronting more serious behaviour rather than appeals my advice is to use the coaches to deal with the spectator/s under threat of abandonment. In the past I have encountered off field problems with spectators and I have told both coaches to address the situation or the game is over. That generally gets a response. If I can identify a spectator who is being irresponsible I will inform the home team of the threat of removal if he does not desist with his behaviour. The home team can enlist the away team officials hep in that action.
Now the difficulty is that this type of action needs experience and a strong presence. Young inexperienced officials lack that and it is difficult to train. Over the years I have seen minor matters escalate into abandonments due to confrontations that probably did not need to happen and where the referee did not have the skill, aptitude and ability to deal appropriately with it. That has even more serious repercussions and perhaps referees questioning their continuing to officiate at underage.

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