RefSix

Swearing on the pitch

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QuaverRef

I used to be indecisive but now i'm not so sure
#1
A captain of the Home side asked me to have a word with the away team about 20 minutes into the game this weekend about their language as there were children watching. I spoke to the away team captain but it continued swiftly after. The home team captain brought it up to me again and I simply said ‘I’ve told their captain, there’s not really a lot else I can do about it to be honest’.

In hindsight, maybe a word with the manager but is there anything else I should have done? It wasn’t abuse or directed at anyone, it was just swearing in frustration.
 

one

RefChat Addict
#2
Its something you have to manage proactively even if no one asks you to. There are a few things you can do. What works for me is a quiet chat on the run to those who do it but making sure others see it so they know i am not ignoring it. You may have to do this a few time and if it continues or you can see they pay no attention to your warnings then go for public warnings and/or get the captain involved. Talking to Manager is probably only effective at half time. Resorting to cards is the last thing you should do when if you do, it shouldn't come as a surprise as they have seen you going through all other options.

In most cases when opponents complain to you about it, its part of their gamesmanship. Almost all the times their own team swear in frustration or when talking to their team mates too. My usual response is that I will manage it and they should also look after their own players in that regards.
 
#3
There is something else you can do about it. You can dismiss players for using offensive language. I understand you don't want to start sending players off straight away so you could warn them first but in the final analysis you can take action if you want. Not all swearing is necessarily offensive and not everything that is offensive is necessarily a swear word but if you hear anything that you judge to be offensive you have the authority to dismiss a player for it. As the referee you are the judge of what is or is not offensive.

Admittedly it's a clearer offence if it's abusive as well as offensive (and even more so if directed at someone) but it doesn't have to be abusive - according to the law just being offensive is sufficient and as mentioned, you get to decide if it is or isn't. As the saying goes, "Your match, your decision, your reputation."
 

Sheffields Finest

Maybe I'm foolish, maybe I'm blind!
#4
I always said to them out loud as we kicked off 'Chaps, we have kids on the side, please, watch your swearing'.... I always hoped it had some effect, not 100% sure it did, certainly with some of them. That said, when you take action, they cant say that they weren't warned!!!
You'll never stop it all, a good swear word can actually be very funny. Its when it gets too vocal or aggressive that you have to initially have words but then act on your warnings!!!
 

Ciley Myrus

RefChat Addict
#5
I brought up this exact thing on another post a few weeks back, I can only echo what Peter Grove says, your game, your park, you are responsible, being a referee does not just mean turning up and blowing for offside, the harsh reality is you are responsible for that park and all that happens on it. If, residents, folk walking dog, or the local girl guides are having their sports day on the park next to you and someone raises concerns about behaviour on YOUR pitch, then YOU will be the one accountable.
A referee should not really be ever saying there is nothing you can do, you have a multitude of options, including but not limited to those two rectangular coloured pieces of plastic you carry about. They are called match control tools for a reason.......
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
#6
As has been said, you can at least try to deal with it. If the captain doesn't do anything about out speak quietly with the player telling him he is backing you into a corner, if that doesn't work make it public with the captain and make it clear if he doesn't stop he is walking. If he carries on, well, you've set him up nicely ...

I had a supply league game years ago when the away team chairman, who was a lovely guy who I'd always got on with, came into our room at half time. He asked if I could do something about the language, including his team as well as the home team. He said that he wasn't bothered by it personally, but his wife was with him and she'd told him that if it carried on the the second half she was going home with the car and he was making his own way the 80 miles home ... :) I said I'd do what I can, but that I also expected him to at least go and talk to his own team about it.
 

McTavish

Well-Known Member
#7
For a less nuclear option than a red for OFFINABUS, if you have asked a player to stop swearing and he doesn't, that is dissent and a straightforward yellow.
 

zarathustra

RefChat Addict
#8
For a less nuclear option than a red for OFFINABUS, if you have asked a player to stop swearing and he doesn't, that is dissent and a straightforward yellow.
But, if a player commits to offences at the same time then you have to punish the more serious one.

So in this instance he has committed dissent by ignoring previous warning, whilst at the same time OFFINABUS, so it should be a red.
 
#9
But, if a player commits to offences at the same time then you have to punish the more serious one.

So in this instance he has committed dissent by ignoring previous warning, whilst at the same time OFFINABUS, so it should be a red.
Not sure where you get from the OP that it was in fact an OFFINABUS offence (unless we're setting our benchmark as Offensive to children which would seem somewhat harsh!)?
 

SLI39

Well-Known Member
#11
I do find this kind of neo-puritanism about swearing in front of children quite amusing (it's increasingly the case at PL football). Who knows, if they heard a few choice words at a young age, they might be tired of them by the time they play for the U15s.
I scorn any attempt to use the laws to enforce social mores, questioning the idea that a referee can limit a player's freedom to say the f-word in a public place at the request of another person.
Of course, swear words used aggressively against a person is a completely different matter, and the referee has a right, indeed duty, to sanction such behaviour.
 
#12
Warning, then a yellow.

I start each game with a warning that there are kids and ladies about and if there's any loud swearing that Mrs Brown in the street across the park can hear I'm going to probably have to deal with it. Under your breath is OK but anything OTT then I'll take action.

Works a treat. Have had players swear and then immediately apologise to me. 'Sorry ref'.

Carded a GK after he was still teeing off at his defenders after a goal while they were getting ready for KO. I could hear him from halfway and, well, he dug his own grave.

No one even complained.
 

Padfoot

The Persecuted One
#14
Warning, then a RED.

I start each game with a warning that there are kids and ladies about and if there's any loud swearing that Mrs Brown in the street across the park can hear I'm going to probably have to deal with it. Under your breath is OK but anything OTT then I'll take action.

Works a treat. Have had players swear and then immediately apologise to me. 'Sorry ref'.

Carded a GK after he was still teeing off at his defenders after a goal while they were getting ready for KO. I could hear him from halfway and, well, he dug his own grave.

No one even complained.
Fixed that for you!

If you're dealing with a player for using language (or gestures) that would upset Mrs Brown (or minors) then you are acknowledging that the language is offensive, insulting and/or abusive......and the LOTG are 100% crystal clear about what sanction is required........and it isn't a yellow card.

Cautioning in those circumstances is bottling out of the correct decision.
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
#15
Fixed that for you!

If you're dealing with a player for using language (or gestures) that would upset Mrs Brown (or minors) then you are acknowledging that the language is offensive, insulting and/or abusive......and the LOTG are 100% crystal clear about what sanction is required........and it isn't a yellow card.

Cautioning in those circumstances is bottling out of the correct decision.
/pedant mode on/ @Padfoot you fixed it by saying Warning then Red. Surely if it ticks the box for Offensive, Insulting or Abusive Language or Behaviour, then condoning a warning is also a cop out. No warning, straight to Red. /pedant mode off/
 
#16
Fixed that for you!

If you're dealing with a player for using language (or gestures) that would upset Mrs Brown (or minors) then you are acknowledging that the language is offensive, insulting and/or abusive......and the LOTG are 100% crystal clear about what sanction is required........and it isn't a yellow card.

Cautioning in those circumstances is bottling out of the correct decision.
You may well be right but I'm taking the yellow for dissent option here.
 

Padfoot

The Persecuted One
#18
/pedant mode on/ @Padfoot you fixed it by saying Warning then Red. Surely if it ticks the box for Offensive, Insulting or Abusive Language or Behaviour, then condoning a warning is also a cop out. No warning, straight to Red. /pedant mode off/
Erroneous use of /pedant mode/ i'm afraid......

Murri Mint starts each game with a "warning"........so the "warning then red" is applicable....as the warning is part of the pre match....otherwise it would surely be "warning, warning, then red"?
 
#19
Swearing in itself is not a card. It is not our job to be the 'nice' police or enforce some ideal or supposed social norm.

The world has changed and even if we don't like swearing it has become more socially acceptable than it was even 15-20 years ago. This is one of the reasons that in the great rewrite of 1997, the offence was changed to Offensive, Insulting or Abusive from the previous offence of foul and abusive, becaue the IFAB were of the opinion that foul language (ie swearing) was no longer enough for a sending off.

simply using a swear word in general speech, after missing an open goal or being on the end of a sore challenge should not be a red card.

if dog walkers/ people with small children are offended by general swearing then don't walk your dog/children near football pitches!
 
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