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Question Number: 33518

Other 7/14/2019

RE: Rec Under 16

Lynda Pollard of GRAVESEND, Kent United Kingdom asks...

Hi there
Advice needed if possible please. My son plays for a local team. At a recent fun day organised by the club's managers, for all the children at the club (8to 15 year olds), one of our referees sent my son off. The man is a qualified FA ref but was not acting in an official capacity as it was a fun day. My son was unhappy with being on the receiving end of a nasty tackle and and said 'That's poor refereeing', when the ref ignored it. The ref then threw his cards and watch at my son, saying you ref it then. The ref left the field of play then walked back on, picked up the cards and showed a red to my son.
Is this acceptable. No raised voices or swearing occurred by either.

Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Lynda
No this is not acceptable and the referee, as alleged, acted in a totally unprofessional manner. In an official game the referee would face sanction for his actions once it would be reported.
The issue now is that, I suspect, the day may not be sanctioned as an official tournament and as such the local FA may see this as a club matter rather than an FA issue particularly as the official was acting in an unofficial capacity
I suppose it now depends on what action if any is being sought. It can go the formal route of a written complaint by the club to the local FA or it can be dealt with by the club. If it goes the formal route there may be a sanction for both the referee and the player should it be investigated and dealt with under FA rules.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Lynda,
nothing you describe is OK, acceptable or permissible, especially at a fun day organised by the club's managers, for all the children at the club. I see nothing positive or fun here be it the way your son acted to the disgraceful conduct by the person acting as referee.

It is true a referee will not see an event the same as a player might. He may not have ignored the nasty tackle , simply not seen it in the same light as your son. In these cases we need to agree to disagree and move on. Yet if indeed a player is upset he was unprotected it is hard not to vent or dissent a referees decision or in this case a non decision to award a foul. Yet the capacity for a referee to respond, be it a verbal warning or showing cards is based on the neutrality & opinion of a dedicated official as to the management of the match. It appears this one has some severe unresolved anger issues? The actions by the referee are simply intolerable at any age, under any conditions!

I was not there nor do I know what actions or events lead up to this hideous encounter between a referee & your son. Was there other people talking smack? Was this a very difficult game with a lot of anxious moments, abuse or continual dissent?

Acting as a volunteer or even as a paid position some people are not cut out to be a referee, as they take criticism to heart too hard or fail to give the required effort to do the job well. Understand that certain referees can become fed up at the abuse directed towards them or possibly lack the strength of character to withstand the dissent and chatter from the touchlines and teams. Over time, when performing as an official, continual abuse wears down their commitment, attitudes & enjoyment of the game.

This throwing the watch and book at your son, is a act of violence, no referee can do that with impunity, no matter what justification or how upset he might be. That referee should be replaced by the 4th or senior AR of available. The league needs to examine the conduct and provide some measure of resolve. If he simply spoke in a fed up voice then handed the items to your son that is still unprofessional but more tolerable. He maybe trying to school your son a lesson that its not as easy as you think it is. Unfortunately its a terrible teaching tactic.

I have spoken to youth on the pitch that continually whine about perceived injustice and suggested they might want to take a course and referee themselves to grasp a referee perspective. I tend to warn kids rather than jump to cards but cards are a tool to get the point across IF needed! No referee in their right minds would ever assault a child or throw things at them, although I have interceded in breaking up an occasional altercation or fight by grabbing a jersey and pulling them apart. .

If as you say your son or the referee did not scream obscenities but simply voiced their concerns . Nothing I can put my finger on demands the referee change his mind after walking away to come back and show a red card ? It was the referee having a hissy fit?

Your son dissented a call by chastising the referee's performance. If this was a continuous, if the referee felt this was an egregious action by your son to undermine his authority. I feel it lacks the substance of a red card for violent or abusive misconduct but each referee has their own tolerance levels as to what they will endure or separate as dissent versus abuse.

In conclusion, I hold the opinion the league should conduct a disciplinary committee on your son's red card and examine what set the referee off and the conduct on the field that day. In a calmer environment set right what went wrong!

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