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Question Number: 31152

Law 5 - The Referee 1/4/2017

RE: Intermediate Under 14

Phil of Tarzana, CA United States asks...

This question is a follow up to question 31144

In AYSO, I've seen parents told to leave the area before the game would continue. The referee is entitled to deal directly with a parent. This isn't part of the LOTG, but is part of the AYSO policies.

The procedure usually is to ask the coach to control the parent first, then deal directly with the parent, & then, depending upon the severity, asking the parent to leave.

The usual violation is for a parent to go near one end of the field to start 'coaching' & this is not permitted.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Phil,
spot on for pointing it out!, yes, often youth leagues or association have ROC bylaws that permit such things. I recall parents having to sign rules of conduct contracts if their kids were to play in the league which basically set out the RULES they had to follow or risk sanctions including not being allowed to participate.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Phil
Thanks for that input. Competition rules can deal with such matters and it is good that AYSO have such an approach to these situations.

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Answer provided by Referee Gary Voshol

Since AYSO creates it's rules only for youth play, they can have additions to procedures in the Laws of the Game. Not change the Laws themselves, except for the allowed modifications, but the procedures associated with the Laws.

IFAB has to write the Laws to cover all ages and levels of play, up to pros and national teams in vast stadiums. Since some referees will have no method of dealing directly with fans simply because of the venue, there can't be a procedure for doing that. Suspending or terminating for outside interference of any kind has to suffice, because that's all that can be done.

That said, there were numerous youth games where I talked to spectators directly. For example, a hot sunny day and the only shade around was several yards beyond the goal line. Do you think I was going to make Grandma move to her appointed spot on the sideline between the 18's? No way. I went over and told the fans that as long as they didn't distract the players they were just fine being there.

But when I had to have a spectator leave, I had the coach deal with it per the rules of the local associations. (Except for the time when I was younger and less experienced, and that didn't work out well at all for me or the game.)

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Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi Phil,
I dare say that in recreational games for younger players with very small numbers of spectators it might be possible for a referee to talk directly to a parent about their behaviour - although I'm not sure if it would always, necessarily be the best course of action. As Ref Voshol points out, it doesn't always bring the desired outcome.

In the wider context, especially when it comes to higher levels of the game it is just not logistically possible for referees to deal directly with spectators although, as you mentioned is done even in AYSO games, it is often accepted procedure to ask the home team representatives for help in dealing with spectator (mis)conduct.

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