Ref4Me

Threshold for Dissent

What is your Threshold for Dissent/ OFFINABUS?

  • Any Swearing at me - Red Card

    Votes: 7 28.0%
  • Any Swearing at me - Yellow Card/ Sin Bin

    Votes: 3 12.0%
  • Any Swearing at me - Warning and then card if repeated

    Votes: 2 8.0%
  • Depends on Age group and Skill level

    Votes: 13 52.0%

  • Total voters
    25

Ge0rgeW

New Member
Level 7 Referee
I am sure we are all aware of the high level of criticism aimed towards referees at the moment, and I am certain that this will be reflected upon the return to Grassroots.

It is my first season doing both adult and youth football, and I have different thresholds for dissent in both. For example, if I am directly sworn at in youth football, I am sin binning the player (except if they use either of the C word, in which case they are seeing red). My justification being that is less common in youth football and therefore a lot easier to stamp out. Whereas, in adult, I am more inclined to give leeway, any I would only sin bin if it were ever the top, or if it would help cool the game. If I were to apply the same threshold in adult football that I did in youth, I am almost certain that I would end the game with 7 vs 7!

I was just curious of others opinions on where the line is for other refs. When I played, I found that some refs sent a player off for any swearing aimed at them, whereas others didn't even bat an eyelid. Am I being harsh or lenient?

(Apologies if this has been covered on another thread, so please shut this down if already covered)
 

ChasObserverRefDeveloper

Regular Contributor
In my first four games when I moved to a new area and County I sent off five players for offensive/insulting language, three aimed at me, two at my Club Assistants. Word spread, and I had no similar issues for months.
One player's appeal failed and next time I saw him he told me he had missed a County Cup Final because of me.
I used to make it clear early on that unacceptable language would result in a red card, and most players got the message.
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Agree, unable to vote on this. @Kes has nailed it. Dissent/offinabus/swearing are not the same.
A player, whilst committing dissent may swear, or they may not, but the swearing does not affect whether I deem dissent.
Offinabus is a different kettle of fish. As a user of, let's call it, industrial language myself I probably allow more swearing on my pitch that most refs.
My feelers tend to go when they a preceeded with "you" / "you are" and directed at me. You'll find a number of different stance on this matter all over and rarely any reas consensus except for the double C
 

Refollie

New Member
Level 5 Referee
Agree with the above.

Apologies for the cliche but it's often not what they said, but the way they said it.

That said, cheat or the other C word will earn them a red without question.
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
Caveat: I'm in the US, not the UK, and some expectations on this are local and I don't do adults (unless you count 19Us).

To me swearing can be part of what elevates something from complaining to cautionable dissent before rising to the level of OFFINABUS. Just as tone and volume can be part of that evaluation. (And so is game context.) And whether that swearing is at me or about a call is another big distinction (e.g., "that call %^#$%ed," is very different from "you %^#$%"). The younger the players, the bigger a role the swearing (by coach or player) is going to weigh into my decision to card (and which color). At the end of the day, its a judgment call in the moment.
 

Russell Jones

RefChat Addict
Level 3 Referee
To be fair to George, the poll does specially talk about swearing AT an official, not swearing in general. In my opinion, swearing AT (one of) the referee(s) (eg that's effing ****, you're a useless b**tard etc) is clearly worthy of a sanction. Which colour depends on whether it is dissent at a decision or becomes clearly offensive.
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
How about "you are a f'ing beauty" as a complement? Caution or send off? :) :D:p
 

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
How about "you are a f'ing beauty" as a complement? Caution or send off? :) :D:p
Haha, good point! I've had "That's a f***ing great decision ref", along with (somewhat stereotypically) a player who I think was Australian and called me a "f***ing fast c***" as I ran past him to keep up with a counter-attack.

Obviously I sent them both off immediately! ;)
 

Peter Grove

RefChat Addict
Agree with all the people who have said (whether literally or in so many words) "none of the above."

In addition to all the excellent contributions along those lines made by various posters, I'd like to point out that one thing mentioned in the poll that has absolutely nothing to do with the question of what constitutes OFFINABUS for me, is skill level.

Skill level might have an impact on certain decisions, such as what constitutes careless (especially in younger ages groups) but what it doesn't affect as far as I'm concerned, is the threshold for dissent. Players don't get a pass on unacceptable behaviour just because they're skilful.
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
Skill level might have an impact on certain decisions, such as what constitutes careless (especially in younger ages groups) but what it doesn't affect as far as I'm concerned, is the threshold for dissent. Players don't get a pass on unacceptable behaviour just because they're skilful.
Oh, if only the professional leagues believed this . . .
 

Big E

New Member
Level 7 Referee
I usually warn teams before the games in my pre match that directed foul language is a straight red, although my tolerance in an adult game is stronger than when officiating in a youth game.
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
I usually warn teams before the games in my pre match that directed foul language is a straight red, although my tolerance in an adult game is stronger than when officiating in a youth game.
Don't promise something you can't / won't deliver. What if in an adult game there is "directed foul language" below the level of your tolerance? Best approach is not to say anything on what you will do if this or that. If asked, "no two situations are the same, you would assess every situation based on its merits and act accordingly".
 

Big E

New Member
Level 7 Referee
Don't promise something you can't / won't deliver. What if in an adult game there is "directed foul language" below the level of your tolerance? Best approach is not to say anything on what you will do if this or that. If asked, "no two situations are the same, you would assess every situation based on its merits and act accordingly".
Apologies, what I meant to say is my tolerance towards directed foul language is an absolute zero (Staright Red in all cases) - my level of tolerance to foul language (not directed) in an adult game is stronger. Usually in a youth game if someone has made a bad pass or shot gone wide and a swear word pops out then I never deal with that.

However there is a general level of accepted tolerance with foul language in Adult matches - whether that's right or wrong is a different matter.
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
Don't promise something you can't / won't deliver. What if in an adult game there is "directed foul language" below the level of your tolerance? Best approach is not to say anything on what you will do if this or that. If asked, "no two situations are the same, you would assess every situation based on its merits and act accordingly".

Like @one, I'm not a fan of these types of warnings. My advice to refs is to ref the game that happens. It avoids "but you said . . . ." Similarly, I won't answer questions about "how do you call . . ." from coaches or players before the game.
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
I never speak to teams before games. Never. I'm 100% there's very limited scope to benefit from doing so, yet huge scope to get off to a bad start by interrupting their pre-match
I also say as little as possible to Captains. I've even stopped mentioning the 'stepped approach' in any capacity. They're not interested and they'll find out about that strategy as and when I use it. I'm convinced that I get more respect from Captains by just getting on with it and I lose nothing whatsoever in terms of MC by adopting this approach. Even Team Officials on exchanging Team Sheets, 'less is more'

I know there's a shift in expectation further up the ladder (in many different respects), but I'll still apply the 'less is more' approach where necessary
 
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