Ref4Me

Disaster Match

JBeil

Member
Level 7 Referee
Well, after last week's injury, I thought today I might get a game where the football is good and everyone's having a good time - no chance.


From the very start, captains mouthing off at each other. I've tried to broker peace but they're not having it, I could have given them C1AA then but decided to try and let the game be played without having to flash cards around so early.

About ten minutes later, those same two players are still at it, yellow for both. Doesn't do a thing, even as I'm giving them they're still mouthing off at each other and me. Someone else gets into a tangle and as one gets up his hand has struck the other on the cheek; no force, clearly not a deliberate motion, just unfortunate as he tries to run away, but they've made hay of that all game thereafter. I think at this point I should have forgotten about the yellow card altogether and just started throwing reds around, because apparently every challenge was a red from then!

The rest of the first half we had a few yellows, some daft tackles, but mostly it was constant bitching at me and the opposition, we had a goalkeeper concussed, a player ran into the other goalkeeper who had the ball in his hands and knocked it out to score a goal, not given, free kick the other way, home team are screaming for a red for a deliberate handball(!).

Second half, both teams seem to start more calmly and they've been shouting at each other during half time to relax a little so I thought we might be able to get away with it, but it just continues. At one point I've had to pull an away player away to talk to him (already on a yellow and I'm doing the best I can within the laws to keep people on the pitch) and as I've spoken to him, I've momentarily forgotten the restart, and once I remember it's a green free kick there's another round of shouting.

The second half more or less carried on in that same vein, more yellows, I finally gave a C3 sin bin for dissent in the 33rd minute of the second half for going on and publically undermining me, goal is scored, and I think 'okay, let's just keep it slow and blow for every contact, maybe we can get this done without any more nonsense'. We're close to the finish when there's a foul tackle near the touchline, and I've blown, jogged over to set up the restart, another player has come in and then everyone piles in. A mass confrontation while I'm still stuck in there, being shoved, and can't make out bugger all! The player who went off for dissent runs in, and in all the chaos he's the only one I can clearly see who swings an arm (he's later said he was pulling someone out but I've only seen an arm fly in) so I issue the red and it's clear I can't get this game safely concluded, so I abandon the match straight away.

I was considering abandoning the match in the 70' minute or so because it was just a constant stream of abuse and my confidence was absolutely gone, the players weren't under control, and to be quite honest I don't think anyone was having any fun!

At the end, a spectator comes on the pitch and has a go at a player, spectators having a go at me as I go off in a game of park football.

Obviously I've not handled that well, and given distance I'll be able to go through that list and work out where exactly it went wrong. At the minute, it seems like both teams were determined to be swines from the start. I've spoken to my league's ref sec and he's suggested I sleep on things before doing a report. I've got another men's game tomorrow morning, and at the moment I'm worried about the prospect of heading back out there.

95% of the time I enjoy refereeing, but today is making me seriously consider if I'm meant to be doing it at all.
 
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Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Well, after last week's injury, I thought today I might get a game where the football is good and everyone's having a good time - no chance.


From the very start, captains mouthing off at each other. I've tried to broker peace but they're not having it, I could have given them C1AA then but decided to try and let the game be played without having to flash cards around so early.

About ten minutes later, those same two players are still at it, yellow for both. Doesn't do a thing, even as I'm giving them they're still mouthing off at each other and me. Someone else gets into a tangle and as one gets up his hand has struck the other on the cheek; no force, clearly not a deliberate motion, just unfortunate as he tries to run away, but they've made hay of that all game thereafter. I think at this point I should have forgotten about the yellow card altogether and just started throwing reds around, because apparently every challenge was a red from then!

The rest of the first half we had a few yellows, some daft tackles, but mostly it was constant bitching at me and the opposition, we had a goalkeeper concussed, a player ran into the other goalkeeper who had the ball in his hands and knocked it out to score a goal, not given, free kick the other way, home team are screaming for a red for a deliberate handball(!).

Second half, both teams seem to start more calmly and they've been shouting at each other during half time to relax a little so I thought we might be able to get away with it, but it just continues. At one point I've had to pull an away player away to talk to him (already on a yellow and I'm doing the best I can within the laws to keep people on the pitch) and as I've spoken to him, I've momentarily forgotten the restart, and once I remember it's a green free kick there's another round of shouting.

The second half more or less carried on in that same vein, more yellows, I finally gave a C3 sin bin for dissent in the 33rd minute of the second half for going on and publically undermining me, goal is scored, and I think 'okay, let's just keep it slow and blow for every contact, maybe we can get this done without any more nonsense'. We're close to the finish when there's a foul tackle near the touchline, and I've blown, jogged over to set up the restart, another player has come in and then everyone piles in. A mass confrontation while I'm still stuck in there, being shoved, and can't make out bugger all! The player who went off for dissent runs in, and in all the chaos he's the only one I can clearly see who swings an arm (he's later said he was pulling someone out but I've only seen an arm fly in) so I issue the red and it's clear I can't get this game safely concluded, so I abandon the match straight away.

I was considering abandoning the match in the 70' minute or so because it was just a constant stream of abuse and my confidence was absolutely gone, the players weren't under control, and to be quite honest I don't think anyone was having any fun!

At the end, a spectator comes on the pitch and has a go at a player, spectators having a go at me as I go off in a game of park football.

Obviously I've not handled that well, and given distance I'll be able to go through that list and work out where exactly it went wrong. At the minute, it seems like both teams were determined to be swines from the start. I've spoken to my league's ref sec and he's suggested I sleep on things before doing a report. I've got another men's game tomorrow morning, and at the moment I'm worried about the prospect of heading back out there.

95% of the time I enjoy refereeing, but today is making me seriously consider if I'm meant to be doing it at all.
Think of the Personal Development though. How many other kids your age could endure all that?
Make a deal with yourself. Obviously some reflection is needed, but whenever thoughts about the game intrude as you try to sleep tonight, acknowledge they need some consideration, but make an arrangement with yourself that you'll come back to unravelling any conclusions tomorrow afternoon, or later

Tomorrow morning, first instance of anything close to dissent, give the captain an opportunity to sort that player out (stepped approach), but don't hesitate to use the sin bin if that fails. It's your game tomorrow morning. Show empathy for frustrated players, but don't let them spoil your game. Understand their opinions, but believe in your own
 
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JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Well, after last week's injury, I thought today I might get a game where the football is good and everyone's having a good time - no chance.


From the very start, captains mouthing off at each other. I've tried to broker peace but they're not having it, I could have given them C1AA then but decided to try and let the game be played without having to flash cards around so early.

About ten minutes later, those same two players are still at it, yellow for both. Doesn't do a thing, even as I'm giving them they're still mouthing off at each other and me. Someone else gets into a tangle and as one gets up his hand has struck the other on the cheek; no force, clearly not a deliberate motion, just unfortunate as he tries to run away, but they've made hay of that all game thereafter. I think at this point I should have forgotten about the yellow card altogether and just started throwing reds around, because apparently every challenge was a red from then!

The rest of the first half we had a few yellows, some daft tackles, but mostly it was constant bitching at me and the opposition, we had a goalkeeper concussed, a player ran into the other goalkeeper who had the ball in his hands and knocked it out to score a goal, not given, free kick the other way, home team are screaming for a red for a deliberate handball(!).

Second half, both teams seem to start more calmly and they've been shouting at each other during half time to relax a little so I thought we might be able to get away with it, but it just continues. At one point I've had to pull an away player away to talk to him (already on a yellow and I'm doing the best I can within the laws to keep people on the pitch) and as I've spoken to him, I've momentarily forgotten the restart, and once I remember it's a green free kick there's another round of shouting.

The second half more or less carried on in that same vein, more yellows, I finally gave a C3 sin bin for dissent in the 33rd minute of the second half for going on and publically undermining me, goal is scored, and I think 'okay, let's just keep it slow and blow for every contact, maybe we can get this done without any more nonsense'. We're close to the finish when there's a foul tackle near the touchline, and I've blown, jogged over to set up the restart, another player has come in and then everyone piles in. A mass confrontation while I'm still stuck in there, being shoved, and can't make out bugger all! The player who went off for dissent runs in, and in all the chaos he's the only one I can clearly see who swings an arm (he's later said he was pulling someone out but I've only seen an arm fly in) so I issue the red and it's clear I can't get this game safely concluded, so I abandon the match straight away.

I was considering abandoning the match in the 70' minute or so because it was just a constant stream of abuse and my confidence was absolutely gone, the players weren't under control, and to be quite honest I don't think anyone was having any fun!

At the end, a spectator comes on the pitch and has a go at a player, spectators having a go at me as I go off in a game of park football.

Obviously I've not handled that well, and given distance I'll be able to go through that list and work out where exactly it went wrong. At the minute, it seems like both teams were determined to be swines from the start. I've spoken to my league's ref sec and he's suggested I sleep on things before doing a report. I've got another men's game tomorrow morning, and at the moment I'm worried about the prospect of heading back out there.

95% of the time I enjoy refereeing, but today is making me seriously consider if I'm meant to be doing it at all.
Okay. So this sounds like the match where I reckon I came of age as a referee.
The biggest takeaway I got from that game and you alluded to, the two c1AAs. Get them out and get them done. That says to everyone this doesn't happen on my pitch and I will deal with this behaviour. I no longer 'manage' this behaviour because it actually enables it and sets the tone for the game.
2nd point I would make, based on what you wrote is try not to be concerned with keeping players on the pitch. It might be what we see on tele, and perhaps because of that maybe players expect it, but this is parks football and the players do not have the level of control.

Also echoing BCs comments..sound advice.
Best to get back on the horse sooner absence will only increase the anxiety and when it all goes well you'll be left wondering what the fuss was about.

Finally sometimes we have games like these, that no matter what we do or how we approach them they go pear shaped... They make us question why we do it and if its all really worth it.

But generally they are few and far between.

Whilst dwelling on what went wrong, don't forget to think about things that went right or you did well, there will be some no matter how badly you think the game went
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Okay. So this sounds like the match where I reckon I came of age as a referee.
The biggest takeaway I got from that game and you alluded to, the two c1AAs. Get them out and get them done. That says to everyone this doesn't happen on my pitch and I will deal with this behaviour. I no longer 'manage' this behaviour because it actually enables it and sets the tone for the game.
2nd point I would make, based on what you wrote is try not to be concerned with keeping players on the pitch. It might be what we see on tele, and perhaps because of that maybe players expect it, but this is parks football and the players do not have the level of control.

Also echoing BCs comments..sound advice.
Best to get back on the horse sooner absence will only increase the anxiety and when it all goes well you'll be left wondering what the fuss was about.

Finally sometimes we have games like these, that no matter what we do or how we approach them they go pear shaped... They make us question why we do it and if its all really worth it.

But generally they are few and far between.

Whilst dwelling on what went wrong, don't forget to think about things that went right or you did well, there will be some no matter how badly you think the game went
Good points there Mr
Almost always, it's only a couple of players who cause the chaos. Identify the idiots spoiling everything for everyone and and get rid of them... (note to self!). I had four off (extremely rare) in a recent Sunday League game. 9v9 was a tranquill experience
 

RobOda

RefChat Addict
Level 3 Referee
Well, after last week's injury, I thought today I might get a game where the football is good and everyone's having a good time - no chance.


From the very start, captains mouthing off at each other. I've tried to broker peace but they're not having it, I could have given them C1AA then but decided to try and let the game be played without having to flash cards around so early.

About ten minutes later, those same two players are still at it, yellow for both. Doesn't do a thing, even as I'm giving them they're still mouthing off at each other and me. Someone else gets into a tangle and as one gets up his hand has struck the other on the cheek; no force, clearly not a deliberate motion, just unfortunate as he tries to run away, but they've made hay of that all game thereafter. I think at this point I should have forgotten about the yellow card altogether and just started throwing reds around, because apparently every challenge was a red from then!

The rest of the first half we had a few yellows, some daft tackles, but mostly it was constant bitching at me and the opposition, we had a goalkeeper concussed, a player ran into the other goalkeeper who had the ball in his hands and knocked it out to score a goal, not given, free kick the other way, home team are screaming for a red for a deliberate handball(!).

Second half, both teams seem to start more calmly and they've been shouting at each other during half time to relax a little so I thought we might be able to get away with it, but it just continues. At one point I've had to pull an away player away to talk to him (already on a yellow and I'm doing the best I can within the laws to keep people on the pitch) and as I've spoken to him, I've momentarily forgotten the restart, and once I remember it's a green free kick there's another round of shouting.

The second half more or less carried on in that same vein, more yellows, I finally gave a C3 sin bin for dissent in the 33rd minute of the second half for going on and publically undermining me, goal is scored, and I think 'okay, let's just keep it slow and blow for every contact, maybe we can get this done without any more nonsense'. We're close to the finish when there's a foul tackle near the touchline, and I've blown, jogged over to set up the restart, another player has come in and then everyone piles in. A mass confrontation while I'm still stuck in there, being shoved, and can't make out bugger all! The player who went off for dissent runs in, and in all the chaos he's the only one I can clearly see who swings an arm (he's later said he was pulling someone out but I've only seen an arm fly in) so I issue the red and it's clear I can't get this game safely concluded, so I abandon the match straight away.

I was considering abandoning the match in the 70' minute or so because it was just a constant stream of abuse and my confidence was absolutely gone, the players weren't under control, and to be quite honest I don't think anyone was having any fun!

At the end, a spectator comes on the pitch and has a go at a player, spectators having a go at me as I go off in a game of park football.

Obviously I've not handled that well, and given distance I'll be able to go through that list and work out where exactly it went wrong. At the minute, it seems like both teams were determined to be swines from the start. I've spoken to my league's ref sec and he's suggested I sleep on things before doing a report. I've got another men's game tomorrow morning, and at the moment I'm worried about the prospect of heading back out there.

95% of the time I enjoy refereeing, but today is making me seriously consider if I'm meant to be doing it at all.

I think you touched on this in another topic the other day. I believe you said something like "I'm starting to think it's better to get the cards out early and stamp out the issues."

And as you've just said, you decided not to issue the cautions. That's probably the mistake that set the tone for the match. As @JamesL said, get those C1AA's out nice and early. And don't bend to keep players on the pitch - teams will see it as a sign of weakness, there's definitely games where you can do this as part of game management, but clearly this was not the time to be trying it; Second caution? Book 'em, send them off, let the FA deal with them.

The other point I'd raise is you said the two captains were mouthing off to each other as you were cautioning them. Don't let that happen. Blast the whistle, tell them to listen and be quiet, take control, inform them that you're cautioning them and they are free to carry on but you're more than happy to get a second card out if they want to carry on doing so.

Please don't take this as criticism though, it's just advice, be firmer, more resolute and get those cards out. They're your tools and they manage the game for you. Project yourself.

I'll give you an example from my game today;

Absolutely nothing happening for 15 minutes, and then out of nowhere a contested throw, I gave it one way, home player flipped his nut, animated signals, tapping his head shouting at me to 'wake the hell up'. I blasted that whistle as hard as I could and ordered him to get over and meet me halfway, bam, out came the caution and I could see from the body language, not just the home team but the away team looked at the situation like 'oh wow, better not push it' and for the entire half for any 50/50, any dubious decisions, any incident where a player looked to pipe up, they suddenly piped straight back down thinking 'nah, not worth it.' Had I chatted to that player, or let it go (something I would have done early on in my career), I've no doubt both teams would be all over me like a bad rash.

I agree with the other comments, get back in the saddle and take some time to reflect on development points - Remember, if you don't have these horrific games, you won't grow and learn as a referee. Treat it as a learning experience, I've had some baptisms of fire like this before, I'm sure we've all had at some point, so keep your head up and forge onward, you're better than them, don't let them drag you down. :)
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
Empathy is a good trait to have. But you have to know your limit.
You can't see into the future. There are many games that not cautioning early have no consequences. It's the ones which have consequences should make you think twice about not giving cautions because it too early. Another thing being a factor is that these guys were the captains. You don't rein them back in, others follow (I have the same philosophy for managers).

Know your skill level and ability to pull back an out of control game in. Recognise how 'in control' a game is. That should give you a very good indication on when you should stop 'managing' players and start using you cards. If you caution or send a player off (dissent/offinabus/poor tackle...) it's not because you have lost control of the game (unlike what players tell you), it's because you are keeping control of it.

As said here and many other places, we all have these games and they leave a very bad taste. But they also give the best opportunity to learn. Don't let that opportunity slip by.
 

Redster

Active Member
Agree with all of the advice above re: early control of unsporting stuff, especially from skippers.

I would add that if you do need to get rid of one, don't let them hang around the sideline to poison your match control. Get rid of them from the park and, hopefully, you will have demonstrated that any nonsense means back home to the wife early
 

Anubis

RefChat Addict
My countries longest serving FIFA executive member used to say, if you cant manage 22, try 21, if you cant manage 21, try 20.

that aside, your description of cautioning the captains does portray a lack of overall control
The cards are a match control tool. Clearly only you were there, and as alluded to in other posts, nobody knows what might have happened
" right 6 and 8, I gave you both a chance ten min ago, in hindsight i should have cautioned you then, i understand its an emotional game but the behaviour and attitude so far is unnacceptable, work with me please so we can all get something out of our afternoon"

do not allow for squabbles or playing with socks during the caution process


aside from your description, if I have been faced with a shouty squabbly simmering game, I aim for the ringleader, the big man if you like, the one i can make example of, the one if the others can see me dealing with, might just make them think, well, if he is not imtimidated hy him, then am not going to risk messing with him.

here is a line I have used, in a time and place, which as ever, some folk will say dont do that, some will say, give that a try

" you spoil my game, I will spoil yours".

of course there is a way and manner of delivering this, it needs to fit your personality, and its not for use on every player for every act in every game.
for that hopefully few case where a player is just intent on being a menace, and your usual method is falling on deaf ears, it just might be the way to communicate to this player that a- he is being a menace, and b- you are not going to put up with it
 
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lincs22

Supply League Observer
Staff member
Observer/Tutor
@JBeil - it is good you have come on here and posted. An experience like this is a learning experience. I think you have already identified your own development point. Don't game manage, deal with the issues.
My countries longest serving FIFA executive member used to say, if you cant manage 22, try 21, if you cant manage 21, try 20.

that aside, your description of cautioning the captains does portray a lack of overall control
The cards are a match control tool. Clearly only you were there, and as alluded to in other posts, nobody knows what might have happened
" right 6 and 8, I gave you both a chance ten min ago, in hindsight i should have cautioned you then, i understand its an emotional game but the behaviour and attitude so far is unacceptable, work with me please so we can all get something out of our afternoon"

do not allow for squabbles or playing with socks during the caution process


aside from your description, if I have been faced with a shouty squabbly simmering game, I aim for the ringleader, the big man if you like, the one i can make example of, the one if the others can see me dealing with, might just make them think, well, if he is not intimidated by him, then am not going to risk messing with him.

here is a line I have used, in a time and place, which as ever, some folk will say don't do that, some will say, give that a try

" you spoil my game, I will spoil yours".

of course there is a way and manner of delivering this, it needs to fit your personality, and its not for use on every player for every act in every game.
for that hopefully few case where a player is just intent on being a menace, and your usual method is falling on deaf ears, it just might be the way to communicate to this player that a- he is being a menace, and b- you are not going to put up with it

I have always said, that the idiots spoil it for all. Dealing with the caution - you do the talking, they give their name. anything else is irrelevant. Keep them quite - if they want to argue, they can gave a 10 mins set-down (sin bin).

If you feel that they don't want to play football, my advice is to "strangle the game" - no advantage, blow for every offence, make free-kicks and throw-ins blade of grass accurate. They will start moaning about this, but they have caused this.

One game of two teams of t****s, does not make you a bad referee.

Go out and enjoy today - if they are also t***s, you have identified now to deal with them.
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
You get them from time to time. It’s hard when you are in the moment and the immediate aftermath to be objective, but with a little time and distance you can then analyse what else you could have done.

These experiences make you a better ref in the long run, so long as you do learn from them. I’ve been reffing 8 years and in the past week I’ve had 2 major learning experiences, one far more painful than the other, which actually are positives and will help me in future games.
 
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JBeil

Member
Level 7 Referee
So, wouldn't you know it, I had an observation today! Sod's law!

This morning I was really nervous about the game, and in the changing room before hand I was actually shaking and unsure if I'd make it out there. The first ten to fifteen minutes I was running mostly on scaredrenaline, but once it became clear I could control the match, I settled into it and started enjoying myself. Observation went well, he struggled to find much to criticise - apparently I'm elegant when I run! Not sure any of us feel very elegant when we're legging it after a forty yard pass!

Hardly a murmur all game apart from a goalkeeper who was unhappy about a goal and then a penalty (which the away team missed anyway, leaving the score at only 6-0!) Looking forward to tomorrow's over-fifties game, hopefully I should be quick enough to put some distance between me and anyone who wants to grumble tomorrow!

Football, it's a funny old game, isn't it? Thanks for all the advice! :)
 

Martiju

Well-Known Member
Level 6 Referee
So, wouldn't you know it, I had an observation today! Sod's law!

This morning I was really nervous about the game, and in the changing room before hand I was actually shaking and unsure if I'd make it out there. The first ten to fifteen minutes I was running mostly on scaredrenaline, but once it became clear I could control the match, I settled into it and started enjoying myself. Observation went well, he struggled to find much to criticise - apparently I'm elegant when I run! Not sure any of us feel very elegant when we're legging it after a forty yard pass!

Hardly a murmur all game apart from a goalkeeper who was unhappy about a goal and then a penalty (which the away team missed anyway, leaving the score at only 6-0!) Looking forward to tomorrow's over-fifties game, hopefully I should be quick enough to put some distance between me and anyone who wants to grumble tomorrow!

Football, it's a funny old game, isn't it? Thanks for all the advice! :)
Congrats mate - getting over that fear is often the hardest thing, and not only did you do that but you shone. Nice one.

This thread is a must-read for all referees who've ever had a miserable game. Not only that, but a great example of how this community pulls together to give the best advice and support.
 
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