Referee lied in match report - is this professional, ethical issue, or ...?

Discussion in 'Referee' started by 2wheels, Jun 21, 2017.

  1. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

    Oct 4, 2005
    Sometime ago, I found one of the referee, who is also referee committee member, had lied in match report about incidents of caution and send off. The incident descriptions were such that to any other reader, it would be justifiable. The league that receives report did not know this. Only I and colleague who were assisting know that is not what happened - they were lies, plain and simple.

    The referee committee is brushing a formal complaint off as minor and stale and not worthy of hearing.

    What course of action is possible to take?
     
  2. ManiacalClown

    ManiacalClown Member+

    Jun 27, 2003
    South Jersey
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Is the referee committee local to the league or state level? If local, I would consider elevating to your state referee administrator. This is a serious breach of ethics on the part of the referee and quite possibly the league as well.

    Referees are supposed to be neutral arbitors. Part of that is always being truthful to the best of your ability. Lying on a report, to your assignor, etc. only hurts the credibility of you, the league, and every other referee that works that league. It is beyond unacceptable and must be quelled. Period.
     
  3. kayakhorn

    kayakhorn Member+

    Oct 10, 2011
    Arkansas
    If you are going to contradict the referee's report, you need to write a report of your own. Be very clear on what you saw and heard. Do not include any assumptions on your part, and just stick to the facts. Try to resist saying anything like "he's lying!", and stick with "this is what I saw happen." And get your other colleague to write a report as well with the same limitations.

    You have little to no control over what the committee decides. Eventually you will have to decide if it is important enough to escalate if they choose to let it slide (or punish someone else unjustly).
     
  4. psyc1Ops

    psyc1Ops Member

    Jun 22, 2017
    Singapore
    Lots of action possible, but what cost? What price will you be willing to cough up.

    Are you referee?
    Rferee committee member means what exactly? Does it grant teflon status?

    A match report is match report, there is no distinction that being from referee committee member, anything goes. Perhaps not. Cronyism is not easy to break into, so when other committee member also cover up, then everyone will lose. Some places it is easier to keep something from getting done than actually doing something.

    I only join today after searching for football discussion forum, however I know what whistle-blowers must go through, and you are definitely on the first step. Find the highest person or persons and take this situation to him/her. There has to be someone reasonable to turn to where your referee committee is located. The world is full of reasonable people, it is just a matter of time to find that person.
     
  5. akindc

    akindc Member+

    Jun 22, 2006
    Washington, DC
    It depends...what exactly did he lie about? Too many variables to comment hypothetically.
     
  6. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Mar 24, 2005
    Beaverton OR
    akindc has a very valid question. But only addressing process, this is (possibly) a violation of the USSF Code of Ethics by a USSF registered referee doing a USSF affiliated game. Jurisdiction over this charge rests with the state association through which the referee is registered. That's a technical term in USSF policy, but it normally means the state adult soccer association. (Unless yours is a unitary state, where there is only one association for both youth and adult soccer, in which case that's the association with jurisdiction.) The state referee committee does not have jurisdiction.

    The referee is entitled to due process, e.g. the right to call witnesses, to cross examine witnesses, time to prepare a response, have counsel present at a hearing before a neutral hearing panel, etc., etc. There is no statute of limitation in USSF policy, although a complaint about someone who is no longer registered will probably not be dealt with. Most states have a judicial committee that deals with charges of misbehavior, normally players doing bad things, like assaulting referees, and that committee would normally be the one to deal with such a complaint.

    However, over here in the real world, most state adult associations, in my humble experience, have limited resources to deal with even players who misbehave, and dealing with referees who misbehave is somewhere down around the level of rotating your tires. If the state association fails to take action within 30 days of receiving the complaint, then you can, theoretically, go to the USSF Protest and Appeals Committee. They would, most likely, bump it back to the state with a "hey, guys, you really do need to deal with this' warning. The state's hearing panel can impose a formal letter of reprimand, a suspension, a fine, a combination of these or, the ultimate black card, "dismissal from the Federation." That means that the person can not referee, play, coach or administer anywhere in USSF or any other FIFA affiliated national association.

    Who conducts the process is different in Oregon, but everywhere else, to my knowledge, uses, or is supposed to use, the above process.
     
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  7. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

    Oct 4, 2005
    #7 2wheels, Jun 22, 2017
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2017
    One incident description is very similar to another poster ...

    " ... player displayed his middle finger with his arm pointing at me ..."

    Both of us assistants were witness to this situation - the player did not do any such action. What he did was dismissively wave his hand while walking away after he was shown a yellow card for telling the referee "you should retire."

    Another incident the referee reported that the player committed dissent on kick-off for his team "we dont have to fckuing wait" was directed to the ground in protest of waiting for his opponent to be on the other half of the field prior to kick-off. Yellow card was shown, play restarted with ko.

    What this player had done was shout those exact words at the referee who was scribbling [most likely, a hash-mark] in his book.

    When I discovered this report, I reported it to the referee committee. There is no referee association in the state.

    The chair of the committee has now replied and quoted policy 531-9 7b which is to me not applicable at all in this instance. This is about a referee not describing incident accurately, it is fictional, these incidents never happened as reported by the referee.

    The reply is that the charge I made against this referee are minor and stale and therefore not worthy of a hearing. They have no proof that the language used is false, or intentionally so, as opposed to being mistakenly incorrect. Can someone help me understand these statements?

    There are other things about accusing a chair of a committee member, so alternative path was taken to arrive at decision to handle the matter themselves, meaning the referee committee.
     
  8. seattlebeach

    seattlebeach Member

    May 11, 2015
    Not Seattle, Not Beach
    @2wheels, thanks for sharing the details.

    It looks like the committee is telling you two things:

    1) There is no easy way to prove that your interpretations (waved hand, shouted at the referee) are correct and the referee's statements (middle finger, shouted at the opposing team) are wrong. The differences here are small enough that either of you might be right - i.e. if another person saw it on the pitch, they might agree with either of you. (Note that I'm not saying you're wrong - just that the difference between what you saw and what the referee said is pretty small. If you said the referee punted the ball over the fence in anger, for example, someone would have seen _that_.)

    2) Even if you were 100% right and someone could "prove" it, this is a minor offense - not something that they would necessarily act on. The difference between what the ref said and what you said is pretty minor, and the ref's behavior isn't crazily out of line here (i.e. you aren't accusing them of some sort of terrible behavior - a racial slur, etc. - that the ref is covering up). At worst, he's slightly changed or is embellishing the action that brought him to give a card because he doesn't remember exactly what happened, or because he thinks he went too far on the card and is justifying it on paper. Not something we should do, but probably not a "career"-ending move either.

    It's great that you have such a strong code of ethics that this bothers you; in the larger context of all the issues a committee might deal with, though, this is pretty small. I'd encourage you to note that you don't want to work with this person again, and otherwise move on to your next game.

    (If it helps, there's a pretty obvious analogy to a foul here: you saw something, the player saw something else, but even if you saw the same thing, you would have thought it was trifling and let it go.)
     
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  9. RespectTheGame

    May 6, 2013
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    None of this strikes me as a reason to be filing any complaints. Tempest in a tea pot.
     
  10. ManiacalClown

    ManiacalClown Member+

    Jun 27, 2003
    South Jersey
    Club:
    Chicago Fire
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The details make it sound very difficult to prove so the best solution for you in the long run is simply to not accept any future assignments with that referee, especially if you feel he was intentionally untruthful
     
  11. Schlager

    Schlager Member

    Dec 5, 2016
    Maybe I shouldn't wade into this but I am...Our local club puts the committee hearing results up online and I was obsessed with reading through those when I started off for some reason.

    The only time they entertained overturning something that a referee wrote in a match report was when it was he erred in a basis of law. That is, he awarded an IDFK for a handball, or went straight red card and wrote dissent as the reason. In these cases, the remedy was rescinding the cards and/or replaying the game.

    I have never seen them overrule the referee on a basis of fact or judgement -- that is people arguing that they really didn't deserve a yellow/red card for that tackle; or arguing that the words they used didn't really rise to the level of abusive language. When teams argue on about the facts or about judgment of what happened, they would always side with the ref.

    I can't image much is going to come of this unless your referee admits that he lied/made a mistake on the match report. After two years I find that unlikely, and even if he did I am not sure what the remedy would be. The season is long over and the suspension has long since been served. What are you hoping to accomplish at this point? The vast majority of refs are honest and trustworthy. But, like others have stated, if you think that the ref is being untruthful and unethical, block him and don't accept future assignments with him. I think that you have done what you can to shine a light on it and should be able to sleep well tonight...
     
  12. GoDawgsGo

    GoDawgsGo Member+

    Nov 11, 2010
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Unless you are the suspended player that doesn't deserve a suspension. Or the team of the suspended player.
     
  13. RespectTheGame

    May 6, 2013
    Club:
    Columbus Crew
    So, as a review committee...

    1) it's stated by all sides that a player was is loudly dissenting telling a referee "you need to retire" and "dismissively wave his hand" and then later says ""we dont have to fckuing wait" (sic)
    2) The point of contention is that the referee saw him flip the bird but you didn't.

    In that context (a player who obviously should be sent off anyway), you think a review committee is going to sanction the CR?

    The suspended player should have kept his mouth shut. The referee saw what the referee saw and unless you have video of the entire incident you don't know he was wrong, given the context it's very likely he was right. Are you SURE you were watching the player the entire time?

    "lies" is a very strong word. i see nothing in the OPs description that would indicate anything other than -perhaps- misperception and in that regard it's ITOOTR.

    No way I'm going to bat for a player who is mouthing off to the CR and -=cursing him=- over a colleague. I'm shocked that anyone else would.
     
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  14. oxwof

    oxwof Member

    Sep 6, 2014
    Ohio
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Yep. I had an instructor say "if the referee reports as matter of fact that a defender grew a third arm out of the top of his head and deliberately handled the ball, then that's what happened, and we proceed from there." Of course, such a referee would have a hard time getting assignments afterward....
     
  15. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Mar 24, 2005
    Beaverton OR
    Again, the state referee committee does not have jurisdiction over charges of unethical behavior by USSF referees. What "the chair of the committee" tells you doesn't matter. Even if the committee 100% agreed with you and decided to suspend the referee, they don't have the authority to do that, under USSF policy.

    If it really has been two years since this happened, I really doubt anyone else cares anymore. As several people have suggested, don't accept games with that referee and get on with your life. I know that the AR's feel the referee exaggerated what happened but what was the post game reaction from the players? Did they claim that the referee exaggerated what happened? Should I assume that there is no film of what happened?

    Your description of what you saw makes this sound a lot like you and the referee disagreed about how the referee should handle some player behavior. The reported behavior is consistent with a game in which the players have lost all respect for the referee, rightly or wrongly. This referee in this game was, apparently, trying to get the players' behavior back under control. I think we can agree that, if there are incidents that are "100% misconduct," then there are also incidents which are not 100% and this situation sounds like less than 100% misconduct. The referee's decisions about how to handle players who were focusing on his decisions instead of playing the game don't seem to have been working for him. I think most of us have been there a time or two. Explaining your judgment and why you did what you did in a game report can also be a challenge, especially when your tactics to get the game back under control didn't work.

    Know what you can change and what you can't change. If this is a character defect on the part of the referee, it will show up again in the future and he'll get caught.
     
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  16. MetroFever

    MetroFever Member

    Jun 3, 2001
    Club:
    New York Red Bulls
    Nat'l Team:
    Croatia
    You need to pick your battles and I don't think this one comes even close.

    You meant well, but unfortunately, you've actually brought attention to yourself. It may hurt your credibility for any further issues you bring to their attention in the near future.
     
    akindc repped this.
  17. GoDawgsGo

    GoDawgsGo Member+

    Nov 11, 2010
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Does your state not having a standing E&G committee made up of current and former USSF refs?
     
  18. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Mar 24, 2005
    Beaverton OR
    We have a Professionalism Committee. The only on-going member of the committee is the chair. The state's adult and youth associations have explicitly delegated their responsibilities for handling referee misconduct to the state referee committee, which delegates it, in turn, to the Professionalism Committee.

    The chair's job is to receive written complaints (verbal gets you nada) and then sort them into one of three categories, after investigating the complaint. 1. not a USSF referee professionalism matter (e.g. wasn't a USSF affiliated game, or maybe a judgment issue but not a professionalism issue) 2. a lower level complaint that appears to be justified or 3. a serious complaint that appears to be justified. If it falls into the second category, the Professionalism Chair will counsel the referee, essentially telling him that wasn't appropriate and here's how to avoid doing it again. If it's in the third category, then he schedules a hearing, provides notice to the parties involved and finds four other people to serve on a hearing panel, almost always referees who feel they can be neutral. (that's usually pretty easy because being on the panel means you get ALL the referee gossip!) Hearing panel decisions can be appealed to the State Referee Committee and, ultimately, to the USSF Protest and Appeals Committee, although that's never happened in our state.

    One of the keys is that many of the complaints actually come from other referees or assignors. They don't want to be embarrassed by being classified with the bad guys. Some assignors want the committee to deal with their problem children, rather than the assignor having to be the bad guy, especially if the assignor has never been a referee themselves. And we've dealt with a wide range of issues, from a guy repeatedly not submitting game reports up to a referee who robbed a bank.

    That's how we handle it. I've discussed our system with quite a few people at regional and national meetings, including higher ups at USSF like their general counsel, and nobody has ever told me that another state is doing it this way. Since authority has been explicitly delegated by the youth and adult associations, we can do it this way. But local associations or even State Referee Committees without said authority do not have the right to punish a referee for ethical violations. If you're going to squawk about what somebody's doing, don't you want it to stick?
     
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  19. EvanJ

    EvanJ Member+

    Manchester United
    United States
    Mar 30, 2004
    Nassau County, NY
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    It reminds me of something in a realistic fiction book. A lower level professor or researcher made a scientific discovery and told the man she worked for to get the discovery published. The man published it and claimed he made the discovery. Many people wouldn't believe the lower level professor just like people who wouldn't believe an AR over a referee.
     
  20. psyc1Ops

    psyc1Ops Member

    Jun 22, 2017
    Singapore
    That is a false positive scenario - no one has told that another state doing this way.

    Looking from higher level process perspective, on one hand you state: The state's hearing panel can impose a formal letter of reprimand, a suspension, a fine, a combination of these or, the ultimate black card, "dismissal from the Federation."

    And on other local associations or referee committee do not have right to punish for ethical violation. To decide the referee has 'lied' in report comes under which unit/division? And writing wrong facts is unprofessional or unethical?


    Which of the three categories would this allegation about referee fall into? This is about a referee who just happens to be a referee committee member, not the other way around.

    About hearing-panel decisions, how many are appealed in your state? Why is that? Since as you write, never happened to reach the panels and appeals committee, is this because you reverse decision of hearing panel. (is USSF united states something something? in any case above state, right?) What is E&G? I am from an island city, and this topic is familiar situation. I know referees who issue cautions, however, these are not always reported. There is one topic in the forum about honour amongst thieves, I like that one too.
     
  21. GoDawgsGo

    GoDawgsGo Member+

    Nov 11, 2010
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    The TV show Shameless did a piece just like that. It certainly does happen and probably a lot more often than people realize.

    E&G - Ethics and Grievance
     
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  22. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Mar 24, 2005
    Beaverton OR
    USSF = United States Soccer Federation, a member of FIFA. USSF has a policy, adopted by the membership at an annual general meeting, which lays out the procedures to be followed when a game official is accused of misconduct. In an earlier post, I described that policy. This policy was created to comply with a United States law, the Olympic and Amateur Sports Act. I won't repeat what I posted earlier. In our state and, apparently, only in our state, the youth and adult amateur soccer associations that are members of USSF have delegated responsibility for adjudicating such accusations to the state referee committee.

    Local referee associations have no standing within USSF. If they choose to discipline a member, that decision is not binding on any USSF assignor. The referee would have grounds for an appeal to USSF that the local association's action was a violation of USSF policy, potentially resulting in sanctions from USSF of the local association's board members. We have never had that happen in our state. By USSF policy, only a five person hearing panel at the state level can impose the penalties described in earlier posts.

    Appeals from decisions of our Professionalism Committee are rare. The only successful appeals were based on not receiving due process from the Professionalism Committee. A successful appeal, however, would only sent the decision back to the Professionalism Committee for a new hearing, this time using the correct procedures. I can assure you that this is NOT a 'good ole boys' set up. The State Referee Committee is only the State Referee Administrator and one representative each from the state's adult and youth soccer associations, neither of whom are referees.

    With regard to your question about whether a referee lying in a game report would be considered unethical or not: The challenge would be determining whether what he wrote was a lie. Lying requires that you deliberately misstated what happened. Having a different opinion than others have about what happened is not a lie. Essentially, to prove that it was a lie would require some evidence of malice by the referee. The referee honestly thinking that what he thinks he saw or heard is what he put in the game report is actually a good thing, even if you could show, by objective evidence, that he was wrong. We make mistakes in every game. Sometimes, those mistakes will involve cards. But a mistake is not a lie.

    If a referee did not report a card shown on the field, that would definitely be unethical. He would probably be suspended as a referee for a while. But proving that's what he did would require some evidence. And that's a far different thing than a question of how they interpreted a hand gesture, as described in the original post.
     
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  23. psyc1Ops

    psyc1Ops Member

    Jun 22, 2017
    Singapore
    After re-reading the whole thread, it seems that the professionalism committee chair was the primarily party. Of course, since the complaint about match report cannot be sent to this chair, it would be ludicrous. So someone else will have to handle that complaint.

    Law5 wrote decisions made my the professionalism committee are rarely appealed. However, they were, for not receiving due process. Who handles that appeal? It cannot be the professionalism committee. What I find ironical is that the professionalism committee did not provide due process to whoever appealed the decision. Should not this be standard practice, that is the whole basis of having a professionalism committee, finding which of the three categories the complaint comes under.
     
  24. Law5

    Law5 Member+

    Mar 24, 2005
    Beaverton OR
    Okay, let me make clear that the original post was not from our state. It appears to me that the post from 2wheels implied that he had gone to their state referee committee, rather than the state adult soccer association, which actually has jurisdiction.

    As far as your questions about our professionalism committee decisions and appeals, someone who does not like the hearing panel's decision in their case can appeal to the state referee committee. They have to post a bond, $50 or $100, which they don't get back if the state referee committee doesn't overturn the professionalism committee's decision. The professionalism committee has no role in the appeal process. The state referee committee's review is strictly on the record. There is no new hearing.

    In one or two cases that were appealed, it was the state referee committee's decision that the professionalism committee, through its chair, had not provided documents to the defendant far enough in advance to meet our standards of due process. The matter was returned to the professionalism committee, which formed a new hearing panel, heard and read the same evidence and reached the same conclusion. That decision was not appealed. Yes, the professionalism chair screwed up. But the defendant got the chance to have a new hearing and the outcome did not change. Full disclosure: I was not the professionalism committee chair at the time. I was on the state referee committee at the time and their decision was unanimous.

    I was the professionalism chair when another appeal was made from the decision of a hearing panel that I chaired. A league president complained that a referee had repeatedly not filed his game reports for more than two months after the game, despite pleas that he get them in. (This league posts their standings and all based on the referee reports.) The appeal was simply that he didn't agree with the decision of the hearing panel to suspend him for four months. The appeal was denied because, drum roll please, it was not filed on time. Frasier Crane "Talk about a butt load of irony." Niles "That's the usual quantity in which it's dispensed."
     
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  25. vinDeezul

    vinDeezul New Member

    Jun 30, 2017
    One of my colleagues brought this discussion to my attention. It has so many parallels to what I experienced in the last couple of years, and yes, I could easily be that referee who had successfully appealed the decision that was transmitted to me by professional chair.

    For anyone who would like to know, I was asked to appear for misconduct hearing. I never received any information about misconduct until I was at the hearing. During the hearing, I requested and was then shown a copy of email that a player had sent which was the basis of having the hearing. The player was not at the hearing, so I had no chance for any clarification. Neither was the referee of the match. I was assisting in the match. At the hearing, I saw four other referees, with whom I had worked in many matches. I did not know who had any grudge against me. During the question-answer sessions, I was asked to respond to many previous complaints. I thought I was in a kangaroo court. No one was under oath.

    I was notified about expulsion for federation, a lifetime ban.

    I appealed, and was successful. Something about not provided documentation in advance. A new hearing. Very much same situation written by Law5.

    So now new hearing. In new hearing, same professional chair in hearing, another panel of referees.

    The decision of the second hearing, which was also expulsion. This is where my situation diverges from Law5 description. I appealed this decision. The reasons were several, as the letter from the referee committee stated "some errors made in second hearing." They wanted to send case back for third hearing - the gall. They already had spent 7 months, and I was not permitted to register for this time. There was an olive branch provided, waive right for third hearing, permit to register for remainder of year.

    I would encourage anyone who faces hearing process such as the ones I did to question each step of whatever process they conduct. After all, it will come down to he said this, the other said that. No one at hearing is believable, everyone is expected to have honesty and integrity, even when they do not. Reading the descriptions here, written word of one referee is accepted as such, not for others. Imagine when every other referee finds out what goes on, what confidence they have in the process of fairness and in the leadership. The referee committee already has enough data on what their professionalism chair did. If this is not old boys at work, I do not know what else is.
     
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