Coaches Questioning Every Decision


"No. I think we're just getting started."
Hi all,

On my off days where I don't have any fixtures, I watch referees at other matches to see if I can pick up any pointers. One thing that keeps cropping up, are coaches questioning the official on particular decisions. In the latest one I watched, a coach from one of the teams was questioning every single decision e.g. why was that foal, what did they do to deserve that foul etc. It got to a point where it must've average to every minute of the game. My question is, do officials need to answer these questions? It got me thinking that if it was me officiating I would answer the odd question here and there as I think it's good for players/coaches to know why that decision was given. But when it was getting to the level it was, half of my time would be spent talking to the coach and not paying 100% attention to what was going on. The official in charge at one point didn't answer a few questions, and it got the coach's back up a bit to the point where the coach approached them at half time.

TL;DR - Do we answer every question a coach/player has? Is there a line where it becomes too much?


Supply League Observer
Staff member
Just don't hear the coach, you should be concerntrating on the game. If they get to much - explain their are to coach their team, not query why decisions have been made. If a particular key decision is made, you may wish to explain for match control, otherwise ignore.

Coaches can be worse than players for niggling questions. This is a time to be strong.

Ask them to be quiet
Tell them to be quiet / caution

As with all decisions, it is not a debate about it, it is an explanation. Accept no questioning back, if they want to them do as above.


RefChat Addict
Depends how they are asked. If its that constant sound like dissent to me.
The short answer is no you are not obliged to keep answering.
If its impacting on the game then I would maybe ask him to store any questions he might have and if he was still u sure about anything, to come and see me 20 minutes after full time if he needs anything clarifying. If neccessary advise you wont be engaging in any further dialogue during the game ad you need to keep focuseed on matters inside the boundary lines.


RefChat Addict
in my experience 90% of the 'questions' are rhetorical. They are statements of 'you were wrong'. Especially true if they are asked that often. Deal with them as @lincs22 pointed out.

In the case of the odd genuine questions from a coach, tell them you will explain at half/full time. You can't spend time explaining questions near the TA and should get on with the game. Be aware though, as with players, question asked, answer given, end of; no follow ups. Otherwise it becomes an argument.


Staff member
I'm harder on coaches and managers than I am players. If they are constantly moaning from the side lines that will inevitably encourage the players to do the same, so my belief is silencing the coaches and manager is key to making player management easier. When I go over they will usually argue that they aren't swearing, so I'll just point out that they are expected to behave in a responsible manner and they aren't currently doing that, and that if they don't improve they will be removed. One manager fell foul of this twice last season and found himself making the long trudge back to the car park.

Hoosier Ref

Well-Known Member
Persistently questioning the referee's decisions is a form of dissent. I may explain one or two afterward but typically won't during the game. Engaging them at any length leads to bigger issues/feelings of entitlement or need for their approval. If they are polite and just didnt see the play, I might give them a quick "there was a deliberate play by a defender" but that is fairly rare for me. If you don't deal with it as lincs pointed out, it will erode your game control over time. If they continue to question every call, it will likely become more challenging over time, the other coach may start, it will feeds players' feelings that they are being slighted and lead to raising the temperature of the match. Different approaches for different coach personalities and game temperature but I have had success at times with stopping the game, talking to the coach with something like "coach, I understand you have a different angle and opinion but calling for explanations or expressing a differing view will put me in a position where I will have to address it. I need you to stop." Then jog away. Don't get into a discussion. This is a polite ASK. Of course, I've had other coaches where it needed to be a bit more stern and one where he blew a gasket and learned the hard way. The game went quite smoothly after that :)
To the OP...
Don't get sucked in. By all means answer a tricky point of law, very briefly explain a tough decision, laugh a complaint off... but if you explain every decision, or even more than a couple of decisions you will get murdered by the crows IMHO and it's worse if your assistants explain decisions with anything more than "yes, it was"... IMHO of course;)