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Question Number: 34962

Character, Attitude and Control 4/29/2023

RE: Other

bob of new york, ny usa asks...

If teams do a handshake line, could a referee prevent any players/coaches from being in the line if they think a conflict will occur?

I had a game where I had to caution both coaches for getting into an argument between the benches. When the game ended the players did a handshake line and I made sure to watch the coaches carefully. When they shook hands they started arguing again so I separated them and threatened them with a red card if they didn't leave and they both did.

I would have preferred to tell the coaches to stay out of the line to avoid the possibility of a conflict there, but I assume that isn't proper for a referee to do, we just let stuff happen and judge what we see. This could also apply to any players who during the match caused issues that I worry could boil over in the handshake line

Thoughts? Actual handshake lines are less common nowadays as players usually just shake hands when leaving the field or going to their bench and clapping for the opponents, but when it does happen I wonder.

Answer provided by Referee Richard Dawson

Hi Bob,

well done mate!

Unfortunately we are not privy into the inner workings of a distraught mind bent on doing something irrevocably stupid even if we suspect that they could.

You successfully guided a match to its logical conclusion! While they are still under you authority to be disciplined, given you had already disciplined & warned them. but not tossed either for their earlier behavior, then they have every right to be on the field of play! The ROC (rules of competition) generally have no restrictions on managers or coaches offering congratulations as a respectful gesture, just the good old LOTG general reasonable, inclusive behavioral warning to please act responsibly. As my colleague Ref Majone will allude too highschool rules are slightly different

You were actively aware of tensions (thus proactive to a potential crisis,) you watched, then acted responsibly when it was, they, who acted inappropriately and you effectively dealt with it!

Perhaps you could have sidled over and offered a firm friendly suggestion "We all good? Right?" Trying to deflate perceived earlier tension as opposed to threatening them they better behave or ordering them away for fear they might do something silly. Yet it is generally a good idea to vacate the the pitch after a match as interactions with upset people only tend to go badly , creating problems rather than solving them.

But I agree, as neutral officials the last vestiges of a sporting gesture should not be something to cast off. Under the circumstances you described I think your intense scrutiny and watchfulness was exactly what was required! Given the coaches are acting as a catalyst in each others faces, chances are players could pick up the bad vibes and react foolishly as well.

Not that I would use the term threatening but I suppose its contextual. Simply a strong presence! Once they started in on each other with the silliness a firm "Cut the crap guys, you are embarrassing yourselves, set a better example for your players! The match is over, its a game, either shake and part reasonably or my match report gets written up -WAY- different!


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Answer provided by Referee Joe McHugh

Hi Bob
To my way of thinking the answer is that the referee should not get involved in deciding who should be involved in a handshake line. The handshake and soccer have an odd relationship. Soccer is one of the only sports to actually have a pre-match handshake and have tried to follow other sports with a post match line up but that only happens at Underage and even at that it is hit and miss with many choosing not to do it.

I have seen players / coaches at each others throats during games and then the best of friends after the game, joking and having a laugh.
I suspect a coach or anyone else for that matter may take huge exception to be singled out to be excluded from a line when in fact they have done nothing other than what happened previously during the game and may do nothing. Our gut instinct can tell us something which is what happened here yet not always the case.

So as you say you did what was allowed under the Laws which was to intervene in any irresponsible behaviour and threaten dismissals for 2nd cautions. Cards can still be shown on the field of play after the game has ended.

So if you think about it the referee could end up the target of chagrin by trying to limit who participates in a handshake which would not be good particularly when there is the unknown reaction. Instead paying attention to the conduct and being watchful is all that is required . You stepped in as needed which was totally acceptable under the Laws and therefore your actions could not be questioned, Some of the same transgressors can in a heartbeat take exception to well meaning advice and vent their ire on the referee and perhaps turn it into a report to the League. No referee wants to be in that place.

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Answer provided by Referee Joe Manjone

In high school games there is no requirement that the official monitor the players after the game has ended. Here in Alabama officials are required to leave the field immediately after the game has ended. There is to be no contact with the coaches or players.

Because of my officiating other basketball and football, where the officials immediately leave the court and field after the game, I like this Alabama rule.

Although in most instances, interactions with the players and coaches after the game result in few problems, I have seen instances where the officials mixing with the players and coaches after the game have resulted in negative situations for the officials. In several instances the situations have resulted in red cards which could have been avoided if the officials had left the field immediately at the end of the game.

My advice is to leave the field immediately when the game ends and not interact with any players or coaches even if they want to come and shake your hand. The coaches and players, not the officials, should monitor behavior after the game has ended.

I hope you are having a successful spring season.

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