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Ref Bashing

Al Patrash 5/4/2000

Letter submitted in response to Editorial posted on May 23, 2000 "By Victor Matheson"

Victor, excellent article. This topic really gets me fired up. I'm a 39 year old father of two girls. My oldest daughter (14) and I have been refing for just over a year now and the biggest problem I see is abuse from the sidelines. Parents/spectators are far better at officiating then those of us that are certified. They can call an off-sides infraction from 30yds down the touch line. They are experts at infractions of Law 12, and simply think we are idiots.

When I say we, I'm referring to all officials, not just my daughter and I. I've made a point of attending as many games as possible and every one has parents who think the ref's are incompetent. At my daughter's high school games we were fortunate enough to have a National Referee center one of the matches and even he's an incompetent fool according to the parents. (Of course they don't know he's a National Referee, or what that entails).

The big question is, what can we do about it?

I've tried to reason with parents after a game, but I've found you can't reason with someone who is unreasonable.

My bigger worry is the effect this is having on my daughter and all kids that are new ref's. I can cite, as I'm sure you can, many fine young refs (and older refs for that matter) who have chosen not to recertify after their first year or two. When I talk to them or their parents, the ONLY reason given is "ABUSE FROM THE SIDE LINES".

These people on the side line abusing the refs and complaining that the refs are no good are the very reason refs don't continue to develop into genuinely good refs.

I could go on and on but you get the gist of my concerns. Do you have any good lines I could use on the parents. How about the pregame speech. I was an assistant to one ref who conducted the pregame speech on the touch line in front of the spectators. The gist of his speech was that when he blew his whistle, that meant that IN HIS OPINION a foul had been committed and that the players were to do one of two things, prepare to take the kick, or defend the kick. This sounds like a good start but it still didn't address the abuse from the parents.

Again, any comments you have would be great and thanks for the article. Al Patrash

Call for Papers

We are calling for papers on...

Funny Stories while refereeing

Managing the Sidelines (Parents, Coaches and Fans)


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The article must be your work. Please do not send us articles that you do not have reprint permission for.

Please proof and spell check your work.

You must include a short BIO at the end of your article stating your name, licenses, affiliations and a brief history of your experience.

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