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Question Number: 33208

Mechanics 4/3/2019

RE: Under 19

steve of eugene, oregon usa asks...

what should you do if you are ever on a match with a CR who is clearly struggling (perhaps a youth) who at halftime either does not want to continue as CR or you feel it would be best if they do not continue and you swap with them?

it may seem arrogant of me to think i would be better, but besides injury is there ever cause for this to happen? i was on a match this past weekend, a U14 girls match and the center was a boy who could not have been more than 14 or 15 himself and we were lucky that the game was relatively clean because this boy was 20, 30, even 40 yards behind the play and i would not have trusted him to really call a foul (i dont think he called one all match). if this match was more intense, which it easily could have been as a competitive match, it would have been an absolute disaster.

for the safety of the players or the integrity of the match, is it ever your place as an AR to take over for a center who either does not want to continue as the center or you (and possibly your AR as well) decide he needs to be replaced with you or your AR? and if this would be a viable decision, how to explain to coaches/players?

or do you never do such a thing and you would just let the match play out?

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Steve ,
it is an excellent question.

In today's world there seems to be enormous pressure on our youth to deal with difficult life decisions. This is as true on the soccer pitch as anywhere else. An inexperienced or young CR can indeed find themselves in proverbial stormy situations where he or she feels or looks like they are drowning. Compassion extends a helping hand but is it to enable failure or to teach a lesson?

Confidence is tested and learning to deal with adversity is necessary but on the pitch it can seem overwhelming especially if the adults& peers along the touch lines start to dispute & dissent as the game deteriorates though disputed calls, perhaps a poor effort or lack of understanding and some plain bad luck.

Some effort, some preparation, some training and an assignor will try to match the game to the level of the official. Every one starts somewhere although a body on the field with a whistle seems better than no one at all, unless that body WANTS to be there, it is not really what the game requires from a neutral official.

Pregame talks are often the basis for how a game will begin. Half time is a reaffirmation of the pregame. Solid support as a team, good communication and EYE Contact. Thumbs up, a wave over to talk, a hand on throat means (get a grip on the game) or a palm down, calm, settle! It is hard to bite the tongue and offer encouragement while trying to point out that being 40 yards away is simply too far and not cautioning for blatant misconduct is actually detrimental.

MY colleague is spot on with the concepts of encouragement and instruction.
Try to get the referee to talk about what they feel or think how the match is going? Base suggestions a bit on possibly they recognize things are in fact not going to plan.

'You can rely on me to help you along the touchlines. Lets stay in touch, eye contact at each stoppage. Get in closer to the action and do not be afraid to make a call or award a caution if necessary.'' If there was any positive aspects be sure to praise those and say in contrast you can sell your decisions easier by being or staying closer to the action.

It may seem ironic or funny but far too often a troubled referee is more afraid of making a wrong call and being chastised for whistling thus he/she renders no decision , than getting the ones he sees as right.

There is no arrogance in compassion nor is criticism of another unwarranted if we are serious in trying to improve our performances or theirs. You can phrase your comments as to your own comfort level and understanding just keep in mind we are not trying to coddle but educate and improve and a dash of reality, wake up and see what is going on is not a crime! I would encourage them to stay and fight through the pain but if they were ill or hurt they could request to be replaced!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Steve
The Laws allow for a change of official for whatever reason. Generally it is done in injury or sickness situations. It is for this reason that top games have a fourth official so that he can take over from any one of the officials.
Now as to replacement due to poor performance that rarely happens but it has on occasion particularly where the referee declines to continue.
The big consideration that it has for me is that the decision has to be by the referee who initiates it. In the case where the referee is adamant that he / she does not want to continue then by all means. However an assistant could not instruct a take over on a poor performance.
In your instance clearly the game was chosen by the assignor as one that was not likely to pose real problems for a young experienced referee. My advice would be at half time to give the young referee encouragement and instruction on some key factors such as in this case that he needed to get closer to play, stronger on discipline etc.
It would be a huge knock to a young referees confidence that he is told to give up a center and put on the line. It could be one that the young person does not recover from easily and perhaps walks away altogether .
I recall a very senior experienced referee having a very poor first half and he came in at half time suggesting that he would move to the line. I told him that it was not going to happen and that he should park the first half, get a grip of the game with a few early cautions and take control. He did that and had a good second half.
I spoke recently to an assignor who was looking at a new referee and he said that the ref had a very poor first half which he feared was going to get out of hand. He spoke to the young ref at half time as he came across to him and gave him advice as to what he felt that he needed to do in the second half.
As an assistant on a game both can assist in a stronger way with perhaps widening the ARs area of control so that flags for offences can be made closer to the centre of the field. On occasions we have all had experience of the AR who wants to *run* the game from the side line! That can be done to assist in a positive way.
So in every walk of life there us a temptation to step in to the role of an inexperienced person. Pick any learning subject be it car driving, work, etc and there is always an urge to take over when the learner is struggling. That does little for the learner and in fact it can do more damage to confidence.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Steve,
The Laws of the Game say that if any match official cannot start or continue a game, they may be replaced but leave it up to the competition rules to specify who should replace them.

I think we have probably all had 'one of those games' - usually as a young referee just starting out, where we have struggled a bit with issues of match control. In my view this is part of the learning experience and in the end, it's probably something we all have to go through at some point in our development. As my colleagues have said, it has to be up to the referee to decide if they can continue or not and I think our role as a more experienced match official is to offer as much advice and encouragement as necessary to help the developing referee through a difficult time.

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