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Question Number: 32714

Mechanics 9/16/2018

RE: Under 17

steve of Oakland, CA usa asks...

This question is a follow up to question 32711

Thank you all for your input. As an additional question for when it comes to preventing escalation, can you ever use a red card as a threat to get players to stop?

I remember seeing a video once where a referee was getting dissent and he calmly took his red card out and stood there with it in his hand, not issuing it, and it caused teammates to throw their teammate away from him.

What if I was to approach a pushing match where I was going to issue a yellow, and said 'PLAYERS IF THIS CONTINUES YOU ARE BOTH GETTING RED CARDS, STOP IMMEDIATELY'

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Steve,
cards are a tool.
Like all tools their use has variations. I can bang that hammer or pull the nail but you do NOT swing the hammer it then put it away without hitting the nail. It just looks foolish. You can remind them though you DO have options !

I have looked them square in the eyes. placed a hand over shirt pocket to indicate the yellow & reached around to the back as if to pull the red And said, 'Front pocket or back pocket, gentlemen decide right now & walkaway or its off to the shower?' They know a card is coming but the colour is now in their hands, most walk away. The key though if you say, it you are committed to it!
I have lifted or tapped the shirt pocket to indicate the yellow card and said are we doing this YES or NO ? If the response is what I want the card does not come out if the player cannot accept the warning tough luck out comes the card . There is no indecision here! I NEVER draw out a card & put it away! My point though in the scheme of things try not to paint yourself into a corner. In the first example make no doubt a card IS coming but I am giving them a chance to walk away and calm down without sending them off. In youth I have called out to the respective coaches that a short ten minute "Rest" might be a good idea as they look very sick, yellowish or red not sure YET!? Smart coaches get it and a substitute comes on rather than having to caution or send off after already cautioning because they are too invested in the conflict with one another. You can sometimes use humour. "We looking for ride on the red sleigh today boys or am I going to spread some sunshine colour here to smarten you up? As well as the standard, "Smarten up or risk playing short handed!" What we might get away with in youth maybe difficult in a men's match between hard nosed ethnic rivalry's' Your clear use of voice & tone with presence & character can often reset the flame to an off position just as POOR decisions can inflame a simmering match into a roiling boiling mess.

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Answer provided by Referee Jason Wright

Hi Steve,

Some videos out there are great examples of how not to referee. Sometimes doing the one thing you're not supposed to do just works. I like to think that Pierlugini Collina, one of the greats, as a good example of this - the things he got away with on the field, I wouldn't want to see any other referee doing!

The problem with reaching for the pocket, or even pulling out a card, is that what's more likely to happen is you'll be accused of indecision when you put it away.

In that instance it worked perfectly. If you or I try it this weekend, it'll probably backfire with players complaining about the red card, then complaining again when I put it away!

One referee I know used to take great delight in pulling out a red handkerchief to blow his nose in these moments!

I'd advise not falsely pulling out the card or reaching for your pocket.

As for your final suggestion of the threat - players pushing each other isn't typically worth a red card. Don't make threats - because you're backing yourself into a corner where you have to give a red card for something that's not worth a red card.

'Knock it off or you'll be in the book!' works better - it's not as specific on your action.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
I personally do not think it is a great idea to pull a card out and then not use it. I find it works well when players are *upset* about a challenge etc and the fact that the card is out diffuses the situation as the players understand that action is about to be taken, which is what should happen. Putting the card away without using it would not be expected
Also at the highest level players when they see the card out tend to *accept* the disciplinary decision that is likely to be made particularly in the case where players are seeking action for say a challenge, misconduct etc.
In respect of possible VC players know the boundaries of that action and the presence of a pulled out card is not for me a threat that needs to be made. I inform the players verbally with strong words and presence that action will be taken. Players will make the decision card out or not so even if it does not escalate there was every possibility that it was not going to anyway. All it does is look to those that are watching of a change of mind or indecision which is never a good position for a referee to be in.

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