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Question Number: 34711

Character, Attitude and Control 9/26/2022

RE: Rec Under 14

Adrienne kalaw of Yuba city, Ca USA asks...

This question is a follow up to question 34708

Firstly Thank you for all your responses I am definitely taking all of your opinions inconsideration. Update
From my goalies parent who was down he was being held down by another opponents cleat to the back of his leg and other players pushing him down to not allow him to get up while he was trying to get up.

Multiple of my players experienced then described a tactic to their parents where two of the opposing players would come up to one of my players on their side then the left player would stick their leg out while the right player would use his shoulder to shove my player over the leg to trip them.

Two of 3 of my players were taken of the field with sever injuries in which the referee did not blow the whistle nor did he approach the injured players to show any concern.

There were also simpler things that were wrong for example when I lined up my players for equipment check I approached him and told him they were ready for equipment check he laughed and responded with “don’t you know if your all your players have shin guards on or if they are wearing football cleats or not.”

Aren’t referees suppose to always check in the kids for equipment etc.?

Also after the game I spoke with a coordinator of the league and they told me to write in the comments on the game card and to ask him for the game card so I could do so he refused to give me the game card to put my comments.

Is this usual for coaches or referees to have these conflicts?

Trying to put myself in the referees shoes because people make mistakes but this didn’t seem like a misunderstanding it seems like a blatant disregard to kids safety especially for the age and Recreational.

Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

What you described would not be allowed in high school games, where safety is a primary consideration and play is stopped when a player is down and either injured or in a position to be injured.
Because this is an under 14 game, I would hope that the safety of players was also a primary concern, but obviously it is not, especially in the game that you describe.
As for the referee being a coach of a team that you played, the many mistakes of the referee, and your not given the opportunity to officially complain, I wonder if there is a shortage of referees in your area.
Unfortunately, there is a critical nationwide shortage of officials in most sports, and especially in soccer. Many games are now being cancelled due to a lack of officials. One of the reasons given for this referee shortage is the criticism of the officials by spectators. Perhaps, the referee of your game was added so the game could be played.
I do agree that what you describe should not happen, but it would be interesting to get the input of referee and get his views on the game.
I do hope your team's future games do not encounter similar problems and your team has much success.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Adrianne
We were glad to respond & I side with my colleague Ref Manjone that we hope you have better experiences and find resolution to your concerns. Mind you there are avenues to protest that require paying fees as well as getting the information presented in a timely manner. Airing your grievances here will get you some sympathy and advice to be sure but no resolutions.

Players in a competitive environment will interact forcefully. If a referee is too lenient to the rough stuff, be it his normal way of looking or not, it is natural for aggressive teams to take advantage of how a referee chooses to officiate. A referee is a field condition just like the weather or pitch surface you adapt to how they call the match just as you adapt if its wet or windy. Without seeing the incidents, it is speculative to say what did or did not go through some one's mindset at that particular time. One can only hope there was no preplanned tripping sequence pushed as a tactical option since tripping is tripping and stomping or holding are still fouls if seen properly. I think it is doubtful the opposing players and referee are in cahoots but if a referee is blatantly choosing to overlook fouls his reputation will suffer over time as would any coach teaching a tactic such as described

Seriously injured how? Head injuries pouring blood? Broken wrists or ankles? If a player is knocked down, limping from a knock or slightly winded that is not serious . If a player has to be carried off the FOP and is crying/ screaming or unconscious now that is far more serious. Not all referees are overly empathetic, but a degree of concern should be part of the competent official. " Are you ok? Can you continue? in any hard collision be it considered fair or not. Basic officiating and match control should be a communication evolution over the course of a game. I find it sad to think so little was on display in the match you describe! Youth matches generally should err on the side of safety not away from it!

Having concerns as to how matches are conducted is why there are disciplinarity committees and codes of conduct to be used, followed and enforced! A good league should address all grievances in a fair & timely manner arriving at a solution or resolution that adequately addresses the issue be it a simple misunderstanding with an apology, shake hands or apply harsh penalties, fines, expulsions if those who should be at the forefront of our youths' Safety are lacking character!

it is sad that you match was tainted with difficulty and even perhaps ridicule given the attitude of the official comes across as irritable at the very least. As officials we bear
shame and respect with equal dignity as we cannot stop opinions based on perceptions.

In the thousands of matches I have participated in these past 50 years be it as a coach or as a referee official there is always some concern shown for how a match is conducted or a minor disagreement in the decision of a foul or incident call not in our favor. We do instinctively protect our own, parents likewise when it's their kid at risk, but only a small percentage of coach referee conflicts, escalate into true ugliness.

Generally, participants of all the fractions agree to disagree and simply move on for the good of the game and the welfare of the players. Usually attitude and bluster diminish after a rethink but with a nugget of truth or real concern at times some good can be achieved if explanations and understanding is achieved! More often the hard conflicts deal with procedural misconduct or safety protests than one claiming blatant cheating Myself and fellow colleagues have endured occasional needless (at least in our opinion lol) criticism by those who disagree, but we also learn from dissent or comments in situations where we may well have been wrong. No one is immune from error.

However, as I stated previously, you should document any and all issues and submit them to league authorities if indeed you are concerned. I fail to grasp this comment card as being the match card to detail grievances on? Given if bad feelings are in the forefront writing down what they are and handing it back to the referee just seems foolish? A referee match card signed by coaches with a box to get paid and perhaps a 5-star rating tick box, but formal complaints should require a separate conduct/ comment form with procedural follow ups. We are loath to abandon a fellow official based on hearsay, however truthful or well-intended, but we also expect exemplary attitude & effort on their performances where they give their best, experienced or not.


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Adrienne
The further update reads more that it is poor officiating rather than bias.

While it may be of benefit to outline grievance to us as a panel the only real remedy is to write formally as a club to the League authorities outlining the facts and the concerns raised. Writing something on a match card just after a game is not the way to deal with this and I am somewhat surprised that a co-ordinator would even suggest that? I have never encountered that and it is not the way to deal with a formal complaint,

If a club official rang me I would ask that the club secretary write formally to the League outlining the complaint. In this case it is failure to check equipment, poor foul recognition and failure to provide the match card as recommended by the league co-ordinator. Bias is impossible to prove so I would not even go there other than to make a point that the referee is connected with the club, a team of which he was officiating.

As to conflicts between coaches and referees it is not unusual and it depends very much on the coach and also the referee. I was at a game recently where a coach was red carded after the game for verbal abuse of the match official. I get it that emotions can be high in the aftermath of certain game yet as I say to clubs what is going to change after the game. Its over and no amount of abuse is going to roll the clock back or change the outcome. It may result in sanction which helps no one. I never had any bother explaining a call after the game and I did my upmost to not allow matters to escalate into something untoward and thankfully I never had to dismiss anyone after the final whistle. If I had to I would explain what I gave and what I saw and if I missed something then apologies. So sadly my experience is the exception.

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