1) Women’s college game. 58th minute Red and White players go in for a header about 30 yards from the White goal. They both fairly challenge for the ball but knock heads. The referee immediately whistles the play dead and proceeds to check on the players to see if there is a need to bring in a trainer for a concussion check. He determines there is no need for a concussion check. The restart is a drop ball.
The Red player loudly and publicly declares that she will knock the ball back to the White keeper (this is an expected behavior but it is outside of the formal rules.) White backs away and resets their shape so there is an open alley to goal for Red. The referee drops the ball and Red takes off like a rocket to goal. She (thankfully) shanks the shot.
What should you do as a referee?
2) High school game between two mediocre teams where they can’t string together three good touches and the quality of play is low, Blue is playing against Bumblebee. The referee is allowing incidental contact to go as in his mind it is trifling. No player is getting pissed off at the odd bump and strong challenge. The coach for the Blue team is having a problem with contact being allowed although all of her players are playing through it. In the 60th minute, a Blue player is attempting to play through to goal. She sends the ball forward and then runs over a Bumblebee player who had firmly, and clearly established a position to play the ball (that went through her legs) and did not move from that position within reaction time of the attacker. The referee had nothing as the defending player had a right to her established space. The Blue coach went apeshit.
The following phrased was used “Referee, you can’t be serious that is not a foul, I was a Division 1 player at (a piss-poor program) and I know that is a foul…”
What do you do? Does this change if the game is a professional game? D-1 college game? D-3 college game? U-17 rec game?
3) A few weeks ago, my initial Saturday schedule was to pick up Amy and proceed to College 1 to run a line for her at 10:30AM. At 1:15 Amy and I were to go to College 2 (10 miles down the road) to pick up Rob (a 22 year college student who is a pretty good referee. He can run like a gazelle and we, as a group, figure we can train judgment and experience into him) who was to be in the middle of a women’s game that started at 11:00. The three of us were then to drive to East Nowhere State (2 hours away) for a 5:00pm women’s game that I had the center. Since I drive the little econobox, I was the crew driver.
This is a typical Saturday.
I receive a call from my assignor at 8:45 in the morning as I am picking up Amy.
“Richard, change of plans, Rob owes me and you beer and you owe him a dope slap; drop Amy off at College 1, you go to College 2 and take the middle, and then get Amy and Rob to ENS…” I agree and the 11:00 game goes swimmingly.
On the drive down to East Nowhere State, I hear Rob’s side of the story. He was at a party on Friday night, playing beer pong, and he hears a young woman boast that she was the best player for College 2. He looked, and saw that this woman was neither the red headed target forward or the African American holding midfielder (flip a coin as to who is better by your preference) so he called bullshit on her and said that College 2’s red headed forward was the best player. She asks how he has this opinion (he reffed College 2 twice already) and he indicates he is either a referee or a stalker, makes her laugh and they start talking. At 2:00AM he texts the assignor saying he needs to get off the College 2 game because he had just fucked the center back.
a) How big of a dope slap is needed?
b) How much beer should I get?
c) How long should Rob be kept off of College 2 games?
1) This is a tough one. By the strictest reading of the book, Red did nothing wrong, so all the referee has is a goal kick. If this was my game, I would also have a red card in the next ten minutes as White will send a cleat through Red’s knees to make a statement that this was dirty as hell. How do we promote justice and keep everyone’s knees intact?
The referee who was on this game said that his thought process was the following: “Oh Shit, oh shit, oh shit, I really should do something, I really should do something, but what… and my whistle weighs a ton, fuck, that ball went wide, she needs a yellow card for general douchebaggery” and proceeded to caution the player for unsporting behavior.
We had a long discussion about this at the college chapter monthly meeting. One professional referee in the group made a repetitious point “Inadvertent whistle”.
His explanation was that this action is massively outside of the normal expectations of play and it violated any common understanding of fair play. The Red player announced that she would follow the unwritten rule of the ceremonial drop-ball followed by a knock-back to the keeper that happens 99.9% of the time after an injury check stoppage while the ball is still in play. White responded to this announcement as an honest announcement of intention and dispersed to make themselves defensively vulnerable. Red took advantage of this, and proceeded onto goal. Killing the play with an absolute bullshit reason of “accidentally” blowing the whistle and then calling the trainer onto the field to check Red for a head injury in order to remove her from the game temporarily while her coach rips her a new one would have been accepted by the other 21 players and both coaches as fair and just. It is an unwritten rule that we need to enforce, otherwise White will feel greiviously injured and they will retaliate with a straight leg challenge to the knee.
The yellow card is truly a game control caution as the behavior was unsporting as hell, but not technically illegal. It is hard to justify solely as a sanction for unsporting behavior. I don’t think it was a valid yellow card, but it served its purpose to put the onus on Red for being a jackass. The ref got away with one as the coaches accepted it and would not challenge the game on that basis.
Now what happens if a goal is legally scored?
We can’t pull the ball out of the net and deny the goal. At this point, our best hope is Red’s coach realizes that his player was a massive idiot, pull her for an ass chewing, and then instruct his players to allow a ceremonial dribble through for an equalizing White goal. At that point, both teams will feel things are even and no one will have gained an advantage from douchebaggery.
If the Red coach does not do this, the game will officially go to shit and I expect multiple red cards and a fun discplinary hearing and after action review. I can’t force the Red coach to take this action, I can only strongly recommend it with an observation that I want to keep all 22 knees on his team functioning. Almost all college coaches will very quickly understand where I’m coming from on this.
2) I was watching this game as I had the 8:15 game after this 6:00pm game. The coach was chewing the ears of the referee crew for at least forty minutes before this statement. In my mind, this statement is a red card offense and an immediate dismissal of the coach for bringing the game into disrepute and directly challenging the competence of the referees. The first part of the statement in isolation can be part of the back and forth between a coach and a referee as long as it is immediate, relevant and ends there. The second part is what in my mind is ejection worthy. The coach is attempting to pull rank or supposed expertise to intimidate the referee into making favorable to Blue decisions. Goodbye.
The referee in question just told the coach that was enough, but could not or would not enforce it as the coach was a lunatic until the end of the game.
3a) Rob needs a pretty good size dope slap, as his side of the events implies the perception of coercion or favoritism in order to get into her pants. He made a good decision to get off the game after he got off, but the decision making process was lacking.
b) At least a case of something good as my legs were shot by the end of the night. I got 14 miles in, including 3 miles of hard sprints that day.
c) At least the rest of the season, and a maximum of the center back’s eligibility (she is a red shirt senior, so it could be next year). Can’t have the perception of favoritism.