England Putting a stop to players' abuse

Discussion in 'Referee' started by JRedknapp11, Aug 14, 2002.

  1. JRedknapp11

    JRedknapp11 Red Card

    Dec 5, 2001
    This is from UEFA.com.. it's kinda long... sorry the link just wouldn't work for this article...

    Tuesday 13 August 2002
    Unless you are particularly thick-skinned, no-one enjoys being the target of abuse and vilification on a regular basis. Pity, then, the poor referees, many of whom find themselves constantly singled out for verbal attacks of the nastiest kind.

    Continual threat
    In all walks of football life - from village matches to the FIFA World Cup - the 'men in black' face the continual threat of either being confronted by a group of jostling players, all of whom have strong opinions about the penalty just awarded against their team, or of having their ears pinned back by a volley of foul and aggressive invective.

    Full authority
    Referees have full authority to act against abuse by players. The Laws of the Game state that a player who shows dissent by word or action may be cautioned, while offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures will see the offender being consigned to an early bath.

    TV influence
    At the elite level, in particular, the stakes are so high that it takes the slightest debatable refereeing decision to light the fuse trailing from certain players who are already hyped-up beyond normal bounds. All too often, their outbreaks of anger are conveyed to the world by TV cameras, and from several angles – thereby acting as a thoroughly negative influence on impressionable youngsters.

    Taking action
    Inevitably, certain countries are starting to take action against the verbal abusing of referees. In England, for example, it was recently announced that wilful or excessive foul and abusive language towards referees and their assistants will now be punished by a red card, while coaches who take their touchline antics over the top will be reported to the referee by the fourth official, who will then be entitled to send the coach in question away from the bench (or out of the technical area) and into the stand.

    Image makeover
    A concerted drive is under way in England to give the game an image makeover. As the new season begins, players and coaches are being given sufficient advance warning about verbal overreaction, by way of a campaign involving the Professional Footballers’ Association and League Managers' Association, in which appropriate posters are being displayed in dressing-rooms around the country.

    Limits of tolerance
    Referees have always been the target of backchat – but many say that the limits of tolerance are being reached. Italy's Pierluigi Collina, widely acknowledged to be the best referee in the world, says there is a thin line between disappointed protest and angry abuse.

    Match situation
    "It's not easy to make the distinction," says Collina, who took charge of this summer's FIFA World Cup final. "It can depend on the match situation, and the relationship between the players and the referee in a particular match. Sometimes, if you have the right feeling for the match that you are refereeing, you can understand why a player might react in a certain way, and so you will not be too hard on him. But on other occasions, a referee must not even accept the smallest reaction."

    Players’ scapegoat
    Sometimes, the referee does not even have to make a disputed decision for the fireworks to start. "Players who are out of form, or who are having a bad time in a match, sometimes moan or protest to a referee just to get their frustration out of their system," explains Swiss referee Urs Meier, who officiated in May's UEFA Champions League final. "The referee then simply becomes a scapegoat for a player's mood."

    Recruitment worry
    Michel Vautrot, France's National Refereeing Technical Director, feels that in his country at least, the drive to recruit referees at the grassroots is encountering problems because people who might wish to take up refereeing are being deterred by the threat of abuse from players.

    Bad publicity
    "We are losing potential referees, because the way that players are perceived as behaving towards them does not provide good publicity as far as recruitment is concerned," says Vautrot, a former top-level referee himself.

    Common sense
    Europe's refereeing circles will be closely monitoring how England's referees – and the players – adapt to the new criteria on abuse. The football authorities emphasise that the crackdown is not aimed at producing over-zealous match officials who ruin games. English referees are still being asked to use their common sense and experience in each case.

    Clear message
    Nevertheless, the message being transmitted is clear, and should already apply as a common principle throughout the game in any part of the world – if you think that treating the referee as a verbal punch-bag is clever, then you ought to be heading for the dressing room earlier than you might wish.
  2. BrianCappellieri

    BrianCappellieri Red Card

    Feb 11, 2002
    Please do not post entire articles.

  3. Alberto

    Alberto Member+

    Feb 28, 2000
    Northern, New Jersey
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Brian thanks, but that is the moderators job to do.

    JRedknapp, it is always best to provide a link in lieu of copying and posting the entire article since it doesn't cite the author, and doesn't give the specific site, I note you stated it's from UEFA.
  4. jc508

    jc508 New Member

    Jan 3, 2000
    Columbus, Ohio area
    Thanks for posting the entire article since the link would not work.

    While every ref would prefer to have games that have no dissent, we do encounter it. For me, it is one of the most troubling problems on the field.

    I want to allow players to vent should they disagree with a call, but I do not want to allow them to whine on and on and on. I have found that I have zero tolerance to personal attacks on my honesty and objectivity. Similarly, I will not tolerate comments from parents in youth matches that encourage retaliatoin or violence of any kind.

    I am glad that England is taking a stand. I understand that Paul Tamberino is leading a USSF push to stop verbal abuse of referees. The quicker we spread the word, the better.
  5. Jeff L

    Jeff L Member

    May 12, 2002
    Arsenal FC
    This is really going to be the toughest situation to turn around, as I think it has already gone too far to pull back to level and acceptance of foul and abusive language used (or rather NOT used) in the USA.
    I referee in both countries, and the first time of "reffing" in the USA, it took me a while to realise that someone calling out "Sir" was actually talking to me! If I get called "Ref" in England I think I've had a good game!
    There's a great deal of difference between refereeing youth soccer tournaments in the USA and adult football in London at a week-end. If you showed the red card for every "F & A" situation you would have no players left by half time!
    Unfortunately it is part of everyday language, and maybe to our own detirment referees have let it go too far.
    Every year the F.A. come out with this "crack down" approach. However it does look like they "mean business" this time. How it works out remains to be seen.
    I, for one intend to adopt their requests, and intend to warn teams about it prior to the commencement of the match.
    As described in the article bu "JR11" it's not that England now itend to punish such by the red card. It has always been there. It just using it more often.
    As quoted by the French guy about getting new refs. There's no real problem in getting them over here; it's the problem of retention after the first season. The treatment is enough to put people off. I remember after doing my very first game, having the thought of "do I want to do another?". Fortunately, 18 years later, I am still at it.
    Being a ref certainly is tough, especially over here, and not for the feint hearted. I've just returned from doing 3 5-a-side games, and 2 of them, I could have abandoned if I had applied the "letter of the law" on "F & A". I would not have had enough players to finish.
    The good thing I enjoy about refereeing in the USA is that I imagine that it how it was in England in the 40's and 50's from the point of view of respect to the referee, and similar now with rugby here today.
    To our "American cousins". On this point don't let it slip away from you as we have. Keep up the good work in this particular area. Zero tolerance has a "knock on" effect to other matters. I just hope that over here wee can try to repair and salvage some of it. I think it will be a long and difficult job. However, the longest journey begins with a single step. Let's all try taking it together.
    Inconsistancy is the biggest criticism leveled at referees. Let's all get our act right in this area.
  6. MPJ334

    MPJ334 New Member

    Dec 19, 2001
    Chelsea,New York, NY
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i'm just curious about ur references to F&A :). what are the FA's requirments? USSF ATR on the LOTG says it has to be directed at an opponent, teammate, official or spectator.
  7. Jeff L

    Jeff L Member

    May 12, 2002
    Arsenal FC
    Exactly the same as anywhere else and what you have quoted. The laws of the game are universal and applicable in all countries. Not much else to say on that point. A lot of it comes down to "level of tolerance". Unfortunately, in England, through whatever reason, ours is "quite high"!

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