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Question Number: 33633

Other 9/8/2019

RE: Competitive Under 11

Corinna of Del Mar, CA United States asks...

Are referees held to the same standards as players, coaches, and parents regarding use of profanity and abusive behavior (ie, using profanity and screaming at a 10 year old player and pointing fingers in the player's face because he disagrees with her call)? Can a complaint be filed against a referee for conduct?

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

Referees using profanity and obscene language to a 10 year old while acting in the capacity of a referee is simply wrong and should not be tolerated. It sends the wrong message concerning referees and soccer.

If I heard the referee do this, I would report him/her to the league president, head of the officials association, and the game assignor. Immediate action should be taken to prevent this from reoccurring in the future.

Hopefully, you will make these reports.

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Corrina,
As far as I'm concerned, referees should if anything, be held to a higher standard than players. The referee is there to uphold standards of behaviour and instil a respect for the law and the game in the participants and how can they do that, if they themselves are not displaying a similar level of respect (and respectability)?

If a referee has acted as you describe, they should most decidedly be reported to the relevant authorities.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

HI Cornina ,
any referee, even at the lowest of skill levels should conduct themselves with reasonable decorum. Notice I did not say professional because it is not plausible demand or expect the same degree of attributes displayed at the elite levels of play. However, it is a job after all, especially if the official is being paid for their participation but even if strictly volunteer, the referee sets a standard of excellence by their behavior on & off the FOP. (field of play) While the altercation SHOULD be reported only the more capable of associations through their leadership & accessible mechanics will follow though to fix or change things. My colleague Ref McHugh has given you sage advice as to who and how!

I agree there is even a greater degree of expectations on the referee to behave in a manner befitting the sporting nature of the game. Yelling, cursing and screaming at the kids is NOT a good image at all. It is painful to contemplate the exchanges that could lead to such a melt down? Inappropriate behavior is no more to be tolerated from the officials than by any other participant at the match. In fact as the designated arbitrator of justice the referee position is imbued with respect .

Now often youth are refereed by younger adults or teens who might not yet have all their characteristics of patience & tolerance fully formed .
Equally unfortunate is many youth in today's world at times appear disrespectful as easily as they might be courteous.

I attribute the evolution of ALL behavior as a result of or a lack there of 'consequential standards' in the home. Kids emulate not only their parent conduct but that of their coach & peers. These kids grow into teens then adults carrying with them the lessons taught good & bad! Good habits just like good soccer skills are taught and there is a right way and a wrong way The issues are if you learn bad habits they became much harder o break as you get older.

I try to reflect that each individual situation is a composite of many factors not always clear to those looking in. I referee youth and enjoy it immensely but occasionally I see or hear a smart mouthed wee one mutter out or do something that is WTH??? Now I might not go overboard as in the case of the referee in your match but the wee one, wee or not THERE will be consequences! I teach it is best to agree to disagree and move on as a suitable way of dealing with situations on the pitch. . To disagree and NOT move on, AGAIN, we have consequences! In youth while the referee and the coaches and the parents should ALL be on the same side for the benefit of the kids! Kids also need to held accountable for their behavior even if we EXPECT better standards of it from the adults!

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Corinna
Yes most certainly and all referees are held to account for their conduct and in fact it is higher than that required / expected of others in the game.
Should a referee behave in an inappropriate manner that can and should be reported to the relevant local authority.
Now it is totally unacceptable for a referee to use profanities in an Underage game nor should a referee be shouting at anyone including players in a game . For the life of me I cannot uunderstand how first of all a 10 year old would dissent a decision to upset an adult and secondly why a referee would resort to profanities and shouting in a ULittle game.
In the first instance I would ask your club to give you the contact details of the local assignor for that particular competition. That assignor will advise what steps needed to be taken to file an official complaint. It may require the club to report the matter rather than an individual depending on the rules. That clarity should be given by the club.
Also I am unsure if the competition was in Cal North or Cal South and each had it own State Association. Associations can provide advice here as well

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