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Question Number: 34864

Character, Attitude and Control 2/7/2023

RE: Rec High School

James Ross of Jakarta, Indonesia asks...

If a player calls a referee corrupt during a match is it a straight red card?

Answer provided by Referee Peter Grove

Hi James,
Using offensive, insulting or abusive language (OFFINABUS) is a red card offence and the referee is the only judge of what constitutes OFFINABUS in any given situation. However I can tell you that in my experience, most referees would be likely to consider being called a cheat (or anything equivalent to that) to be highly offensive and worthy of a dismissal.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi James
Law 12 has a sending off offence of using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or action(s). That red card offence can be towards anyone including a match official.
The referee is the sole judge of what constitutes offensive, insulting and abusive

As my colleague Referee Grove points out most if not all referees will be offended and insulted if they are called a cheat and / or corrupt and therefore a red card will result. Players know that and they do it to try to agitate the referee and to seek verbal retribution for what they perceive as decisions that did not go their way.
The referees job is to apply the Laws, and punish the language that is intended to insult or offend, or to provoke.
For example: A Player who says, "that was not a f***ing penalty Ref.," , is likely to receive a less severe reaction from a referee, compared to a player who says, "Ref., you are a f@#%ing cheat or "You are a corrupt c@%#".

One of the big challenges facing the game now is the lack of match officials. The reason is fairly clear in that many see the role as thankless and not worth it, being on the receiving end of verbal abuse from players, coaches and spectators.
It was once said that the problem with referees is that they don't care who wins and that is truly the case. Referees give what they see from their unique angle view of play and right or wrong it is the only way the game can be played.
I played the game to a high standard and I can safely say that never once did the referee have an influence on any game result. The result always reflected how we played and the referee was never a factor.
No match official needs to be berated with obtuse language with the sole intention of insulting that person. So I have zero tolerance on those in the game that insult anyone so yes a player should be sent off for impugning the integrity of a match official.

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Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi James.
Integrity is a concept . It is a moral value system one adheres to for themselves as it can NOT be taken only surrendered! Referee bias's are not uncommon and plenty of referees are often pegged as favoring one team over the other.

How credible the insults are to create actions necessary to stop play and send off a player for insulting ones character is something neutral officials must always wrestle with .

How much vehemence and match altering circumstances are at work? Is it simply aggravated insults of disappointment, What kind of a call was that? to a more "You corrupt bastard? "How much are they paying you?" eyeball accusation which goes from likely demanding a response to a direct red card send off reduce them a player for offinabus .
As my good colleagues state verbal abuse is a driving force that limits our numbers of referees that enjoy being and working on the pitch.

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