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Question Number: 4628

Pre-Game 10/29/2002

RE: Varsity High School

Paul Levesque of , Massachuse asks...

To settle the first issue that many will have -- we won the game 3-0.(no sour grapes here)..The scenario is that prior to a game which would decide the league championships, one of the referee?s took it upon himself to single one player prior to the game and attempted to dictate how that individual should play her game. This all began right after the team captains met at mid-field. When the players (captains) were leaving to join their.respective teams , he addressed one of the captains and TOLD her to stay. When her co-captain attempted to stay, she was summarily told to leave. At that point he began to berate the remaining co-captain about a previous game she had participated in and stated that he didn?t approve of her style of play. He demanded that she tone it down or there would be repercussions ..This officials actions bordered on intimidation and misuse of his position which could have influenced the outcome of a very important game. Fortunately , the player chose to ignore the official and played with even greater intensity than she has ever displayed before. This might not have been the case.with a less determined individual. My question is, What rule allows or not allows an official to confront an individual player alone prior to the game when the referee's action could influence the outcome of a game before the game has actually started? Not only does the action of the referee give the appearance of being unethical it borders on discrimination. As a side note, this player had not received a yellow or red card in what is now her fourth year of varsity high school soccer.

Answer provided by Referee Keith Contarino 10/29/2002

This referee, if what you say is true, has lost his mind and clearly has acted unethically. Literally everything you allege he did is improper and his actions should be reported to his assignor, League officials and State authorities. There's nothing wrong with carrying on conversatons with players but this guy clearly over-stepped his bounds

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Answer provided by Referee Dawson 10/31/2002

Hi Paul, .the continual evolution of a referee's game and player management does take in many bizzare occurances as we seek to find our way on the field of play. I agree with my colleague trying to intimidate a player or lay down an authoritarian strip in such a manner is foolish, counter productive and generally sets up the referee for more problems than they might think. I generally take a dim view of coaches berating their players but for a referee to do it in such a manner could land him in hot water with his peers and those who assign the matches.. .A referee can be aware of a certain player or a team's reputation but must use each game as a new starting point, slate clean for all players. It is hard to set aside personal dislikes or preconcieved notions but as a neutral official the referee must strive to do so. Apply the law equally and if you must say something in the pregame state it for all to hear. I subscribe to less is more but will confer with the coach first before I address the players. Question 4503 deals with pregame ideaology. I can tell you with certainty the coach in that question would be even more annoyed than you seem to be. ..Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely even with good intentions. :o) Cheers

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