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San Marcos Youth Soccer
P.O. Box 627 
San Marcos, CA 92079
Tel: 760-621-0650
Fax: 760-621-3243

You are here: HomeVolunteersRefereesLaws of the Game: Ask the Referee

PITCH INVASION BY IRATE PARENT

Question: In the 30th to 36th minute of a 45-minute second half game for BU17, there was a foul that took down a player and they were injured. That player remained on the field until the coaches could be called on to attend to him. During that time, the injured player's parent ran onto the field yelling at the referees that they allowed his son to get injured because they didn't make the calls necessary to stop the rough play. The coaches from the parent's team got the parent off the field of play and away from the referees. The player was then taken off the field. During this time, the referees conferred and came back to state that the match was suspended due to the parent coming on the field.

Since the match was called in the 36th minute of the 2nd half, does the score stand as official? Should the officials have notified the coach to have the parent removed or the match would be suspended before they just suspended the match? Can they have the results of the match overturned to a forfeit for the team with whose parent entered the field of play?

Answer: We cannot understand why the referee needed to have a conference with the ARs to determine that the match was suspended. The match is automatically suspended the moment the referee allows authorized medical (or coaching) staff to enter the field to examine the player.

Surely the referee told the teams that the match had been "terminated" because of the actions of the parent, who entered the field without permission and then verbally attacked the referee.

What happens when a match is terminated is dictated by the rules of the competition (league or state/local association, etc.), not by the referee. The referee must include full details in the match report. Then the competition authority will determine what remains to be done.

Cal South E-News | April 2012 REFEREE EDUCATION | April 20, 2012

ONLY TEAM OFFICIALS CAN COMMIT "IRRESPONSIBLE BEHAVIOR"

Question: It's very near the end of the game and Team A is losing to Team B.

Team A has a throw-in near the benches and is pressing very hard to equalize the score. As Team A's player begins to take the throw-in, Team B's substitute goalkeeper, sitting on the bench, throws another ball into the field to prevent the restart.

The referee correctly identifies the goalkeeper, shows the red card, and sends him off for the misconduct. Now here's the issue.

Some referees are opining that a substitute is considered "bench personnel" while at the bench. Therefore, the GK is sent off for "irresponsible behavior."

I argue that a substitute is a substitute, not bench personnel. As such the substitute GK can only be sent off for one of the seven reasons stated in Law 12 -- and "irresponsible behavior" is not one of them.

Your response?

Answer: Neither the substitute goalkeeper nor any other player may be sent off for the offense of "irresponsible behavior." He may only be cautioned for unsporting behavior, unless something else occurs during the period following the initial cautionable misconduct of throwing the extra ball onto the field.

This was made clear in a position paper of March 22, 2006, on "Management of Behavior in the Technical Area." The pertinent quote from that paper Is: ",. . . in match conditions where spectators are not allowed near the immediate area of the field (for example, restricting spectators to stadium seats or behind barriers), the persons allowed in or near the field are strictly limited to players, substitutes, and team officials. For purposes of this memorandum, anyone officially allowed in the technical area who is not a rostered player or substitute (or substituted player) is a team official."

Thus, no player (including substitutes and substituted players) may be sent off for "irresponsible behavior." Such persons are not "bench personnel" and are thus not subject to the same treatment as team officials (coaches, trainers, medical personnel, etc.). Players (including substitutes and substituted players) may be sent off only for one of the seven reasons listed in Law 12, which covers players, etc.

Cal South E-News | April 2012 REFEREE EDUCATION | April 20, 2012

GROUNDS FOR PROTEST

Question: Clearly, a coach could theoretically protest any game, but does the USSF offer any guidelines to leagues regarding what might make a game truly "protestable?"
Or to re-word it: What type of referee errors might be grievous enough to result in a protested match being replayed?
We have differing schools of thought. Some here would say that any misapplication of the law, such as an incorrect restart, would qualify.
Others would pose that the error must directly impact the outcome of the game, for example, not allowing a goal scored from a corner would be a referee misapplication of the Law which directly impacts the outcome. Whereas, awarding a corner kick when it should have been a throw-in, and then the corner results in a goal, would be an indirect impact. The players had the opportunity to mediate that misapplication of the Law.
Of course, leagues prefer not to incur the expense of replaying any games at all. That financial concern aside - are there any guidelines for how a coach or league board might determine if a protest is worthy on the basis of the referee's performance alone?
Answer: There are no national standards for protesting the result of the game and the acts of the referee. Traditionally there is only one reason to protest the decision of the referee, and that is solely for a decision that is counter to the Laws of the Game. In other words, a situation where misapplying the Laws does indeed affect the game or where a referee clearly sets aside one of the Laws of the Game.. There can be no protest on a matter of referee judgment.
Equally traditionally, many protest committees pay no attention to the facts of the case, no matter how rationally reasoned and presented.

Cal South E-News | April 2012 REFEREE EDUCATION | April 20, 2012

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