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Question Number: 32704

High School 9/12/2018

RE: Varsity High School

Derek of Cary, IL USA asks...

I had a coach who thinks he knows the rules. Not uncommon, but it got to a point where he was downright obsessed with reminding us about a specific nuance of the rules.
Every set piece, mostly DFKs outside the PA, he would yell several times, 'It's still offside if he's in the goalkeeper's line of sight!' All the players lined up within a couple yards of the 18, not once was there a PIOP, so it became irrelevant.
I was AR1, and I was getting annoyed by his statement, every, single, time.

First off, 15-18 yards away, would you consider the 'interfering with an opponent' clause possible?
Second, can I say anything to this coach to shut him up? He was yelling it loud enough for the whole stadium and parking lot to hear.

Thank you for your time. People management is something I struggle with, so I'm trying to get ideas on how to, for lack of a better word, tackle these situations.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Derek,
thanks for making me laugh the coach knowing the rules as not uncommon struck me as funny.

Hi Derek its a god given right to be an idiot even a loud one unless the conduct is endangering the game or affecting the sporting aspect in spirit & attitude. Unfortunately just being a megaphone tactical buffoon is endured for the most part. If you watched the World cup most EVERY referee spoke to ANY opponent in behind the wall prior to a free kick then they immediately seemed to reverse their position? You will note the LOTG state very clearly blocking the line of sight but no specific distance is mentioned although they mention the word "CLOSE" on challenges.

Interfering with an opponent by: preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision
Note the word CLEARLY which will be a opinion decision.

As a referee & coach & player I am well aware of the LOTG and I know that some referees are better at some things than others so to coaches & players.
Focus your attention on the things that matter try to filter out the useless chatter. I know LOUD screamers from the touchlines are irritating I used to be one initially thinking direct communication with the kids required this. I was as wrong then as the coaches that do the same now! That said someone TAUGHT me the correct way to communicate perhaps you can assist the coach in his journey. You have avenues to address concerns within the high school codes of conduct?

I will say this as AR depending on the referees directions it is the CRs responsibility to protect you from those that make your job difficult. In point of fact I address this in every match at the start when I intro myself and the ARs to the teams at check in. My ARs are to have unobstructed views down the touchlines & are 100% off-limits to ANY verbal or physical abuse if there is an issue your captain brings it to me at the appropriate time and place.

I have a very outgoing personality I find it easy to talk to just about anyone if I feel it requires me to do so. That said I try to avoid confrontation as best I can. If I am CR I EXPECT my ARs to let me know of a problem ASAP before it unwinds itself into a mess. As an AR I have sufficient confidence to manage interaction but I always keep the CR informed of potential flare-ups. Your concern over the coach for example did you run it by the CR? He may just say ignore it or see something like USB or dissent in the attitude & deal with it ? I know that high school protocols has a low tolerance for unreasonable behavior his outbursts may have crossed into such?

It is a losing proposition to argue over coach's yelling ability to give tactical information as long as he is within the technical area. Other than a pleasant I am sure they heard you the first time Coach relax enjoy the game!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

When a high school coach has a misunderstanding of a rule or rules and will not listen to and agree to the referee's interpretation, the best course of action is, after the game, to contact your officials' association president or assignor and ask them to intervene. Normally, a call from the association with an explanation where the coach can be attentive and not involved in the game will work. If the coach does not agree with the association leaders, then your state soccer rules interpreter can be asked to provide an interpretation which should be passed on to the coach. Also, some associations provide rule clinics for coaches and players where misconceptions can be alleviated in advance. These clinics seem to have a very positive result for all concerned.

Now, what you stated about the coach yelling so that the entire parking lot and stadium can hear, is not to be tolerated in high school play. The coach should have been given a verbal warning by the referee at the first outburst, and if the coach has further outbursts, a caution and then a disqualification. As the AR, you should have informed the referee at the first outburst.

As to an offsides or interference call, like you, I cannot see any justification for such a call.

I hope that you have a very successful fall season.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Derek
The reason for such loud verbal outbursts is to influence the referee and assistant referee in decision making.
In this instance the coach is hoping that an AR will flag for offside on a shot at goal in every single instance.
Now we know it is only an offence if the player in an offside position actually interferes with an opponent in this case line of sight interference. That is a judgement call based on the position of the ball, the PIOP and the opponent in this case the goalkeeper.
As to the judgement call that can be difficult from a side on view. Obviously closer to the goalkeeper shortens the reaction time and the view of the ball. Stood behind players makes it a less obvious line of sight issue as the ball is screened anyway until it clears the heads of everyone.
Have a look at this video
Referees are divided on this. Many believe the reason for the player being there is to *interfere* with the goalkeeper. FIFA and my association UEFA have opined this as offside by clearly obstructing the goalkeepers line of vision. The reason is that even though the goalkeeper might see the ball then the player is clearly in the line of the vision and he is there for a purpose which is to distract the goalkeeper.
Others believe that the goalkeepers have not been interfered with and the PIOPs are sufficiently far enough away not to be interfering. Interestingly during the WC referees could be seen to be advising PIOPs that they could be called offside which then *encouraged* the player to move onside.

Referee Manjone has given the protocol for dealing with coach misconduct situations.
In a game each situation will be different ranging from the one off to constant shouting. The protocol as outlined by Referee Manjone translate in Ask, Tell and Remove in FIFA games. The tell part does not involve a caution in FIFA games yet it has the same effect in that a continuation of the interference will result in a removal / disqualification of the team official.
How that is done should be in a calm respectful manner. My advice is to prepare a few words that can be delivered calmly. ' Coach I am here to officiate the game. Your outbursts are unacceptable and if you persist to shout and interfere in the game I will have no hesitation in removing you from the game / I will have no hesitation in asking the referee to come across to deal with the situation. So it is up to you now to act in a responsible manner' . It might be difficult at the start with advice to calm down, let me speak but he should be left with the clear understanding that he will be removed.

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