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Question Number: 6787

Law 5 - The Referee

RE: Rec

Kent of Birmingham, AL USA asks...

How should a coach approach an CR with a valid question during a state sanctioned game? Our U14 parents were surprised to find a young child acting as AR at our recent game. During the very first play, the ball was kicked past all of our defenders to two offensive players that were side-by-side and approximately 10 yds. offside, they were almost in the box. There was absolutely no question that it was offsides, even the opposing team stopped and started positioning for the next play, expecting a whistle. Instead, a goal was made. Our coach had no choice, but to ask the ref for an explanation. The ref stated that the AR (who wasn't aware of what happened and was receiving instruction from the ref) didn't throw the flag. In other words, no official was in place to make the call. Our coach made a statement, not in anger but concern, "Well, if your AR can't keep up with the play and can't use the flag, then we need another AR." He was immediately thrown off the field and remanded to the parking lot. Also, he will miss one of our tournament games for making a comment. Not even an angry one at that. The opposing teams coach stood in disbelief and asked the ref to reconsider. As it turns out, the small child was the CR's son. The opposing team apologized at the end of the game and so did many of the parents. Is there a nepatism clause? What qualifications do AR's have to meet? I thought this power was reserved for violent and threatening parents/coaches. Not statements.

Answer provided by Referee Victor Matheson

First of all, there is no problem with parents refereeing games with their children. This is very common and poses no ethical problems (unlike parents refereeing when their children are players.) There is also no problem, in general, with young assistant referees officiating matches where they are younger than the players involved, especially when they are working on the line with an experienced referee in the center. Depending on your league, most ARs must have attended a certification clinic and passed a written exam in order to officiate. Many recreational leagues do not require certified referees, however. Finally, the referee has the right to send off any coach or spectator who uses offensive, insulting, or abusive language, and the referee is the judge of what this constitutes. Apparently the referee found the comment insulting even if it was not violent or threatening. I would also add that I as a referee have a much lower threshold for tolerating language when I am working with young, inexperienced officials. All of this being said, it certainly appears that your team got punished when the AR made a serious error, and I would inform the referee scheduler that perhaps this AR should not receive assignments at this level until they have more experience.

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Answer provided by Referee Chuck Fleischer

Agree. ..Regards,

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