Ref4Me

U18 Referee Abuse

Jam

New Member
Level 7 Referee
Hi all,
I am an U18 Ref and have passed my course about 3 months ago but have reffed for almost 2 years now. I had a situation yesterday where I had a horrendous team and almost abandoned the game. I had to end up sending a report in about this as it was absolutely atrocious, considering it was an U12 Girls Game. I will write out the Report below but if anyone knows a way that I could have handled this better or how to deal with teams such as these it would be greatly appreciated.

Report
The Game Started off as a usual game with no real problems in the first half, apart from the usual competitive parents that were on the side-line. The score at half time ended up being 3-0 to the home team after scoring 3 goals in the 5 minutes before half time. The second half began fine until there was a collision at around the 40th minute. Neither of the girls were at fault for this as it was a small collision chasing after the ball. However, because of this one of the away players got in an argument with a home player stating that they purposefully kicking the player, which was untrue as I had a clear view of this. The away Player Proceeded to call her a ‘Stupid B*tch’, right in front of me, to which I asked the coach politely to take the player off until she had calmed down. The coach refused at this and proceeded to laugh in my face and told me that it wasn’t that bad and that home players had been calling his team thing worse which I hadn’t heard at all throughout the game. Reflecting on this I should have stopped the game until he had taken the player off but, in the end, I let it slip. Before I restarted play, I had a word with the home coach saying that I felt unsafe in the situation and that if it continued that I would abandon the game. He then went and spoke to the opposition coach about this, and it seemed to calm the coach down a bit. However, the abuse that I got from the away parents from the rest of the game about every decision that I made and shouting things at me the rest of the match, however I cannot exactly remember what they said as I was mainly focussing on the game at the time, but after the game I was told by a few people that they were swearing at me. The game ended with a 5-0 score to the home team. After the game I remained by the home coaches as I felt unsafe going over to where the spectators were. I was told by many of the home players after the game about their players calling them names and pushing them around and was even told that a parent had told their child to beat them up, none of which I saw or heard again and I’m sure the home team also said things to the opposition team as well. Shortly after I was approached by two spectators who were with the away team that wanted to access to player information and for me to have a word with a home player about something that they had said to them. The coach handled it and told them that they weren’t allowed to have that information and that he would have a word with his players, but they also blamed me of not doing my job properly. As a young referee, I felt unsafe in the environment. I was also wearing my purple referee shirt which shows that I am under 18 so they have no excuse for not knowing that I was a young referee.

Thank you.
 
Last edited:
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socal lurker

RefChat Addict
I can’t open the pdf. but I’d suggest you take it down and give a summary that doesn’t identify teams. You never know who reads these kinds of forums.
 

ben_white161

New Member
Well done for not just walking away, I'm not sure what I'd have done in the same situation. I'm new to this myself so can't advise re. the match report, do you still have email contact with the referees who ran your course? They might help
 

ChasObserverRefDeveloper

Regular Contributor
Thanks for sharing on here. All of us will have experienced something similar in youth games, sadly.
Send your disciplinary report to the County FA, spelling out the spectators' and players' involvement in a factual way, contact the Appointments Secretary of the league so they are aware, and contact the local Mentors Secretary so they can look after the next referee who handles the away team.
Most importantly, you have learned from the experience and will know that if there is a next time with a similar issue the home club are responsible for spectators' behaviour and that the option of sending off for O/I/A language was open to you, or a caution for unsporting behaviour.
Again, well done for sharing and let's hope the rest of your season goes smoothly.
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Hi all,
I am an U18 Ref and have passed my course about 3 months ago but have reffed for almost 2 years now. I had a situation yesterday where I had a horrendous team and almost abandoned the game. I had to end up sending a report in about this as it was absolutely atrocious, considering it was an U12 Girls Game. I will write out the Report below but if anyone knows a way that I could have handled this better or how to deal with teams such as these it would be greatly appreciated.

Report
The Game Started off as a usual game with no real problems in the first half, apart from the usual competitive parents that were on the side-line. The score at half time ended up being 3-0 to the home team after scoring 3 goals in the 5 minutes before half time. The second half began fine until there was a collision at around the 40th minute. Neither of the girls were at fault for this as it was a small collision chasing after the ball. However, because of this one of the away players got in an argument with a home player stating that they purposefully kicking the player, which was untrue as I had a clear view of this. The away Player Proceeded to call her a ‘Stupid B*tch’, right in front of me, to which I asked the coach politely to take the player off until she had calmed down. The coach refused at this and proceeded to laugh in my face and told me that it wasn’t that bad and that home players had been calling his team thing worse which I hadn’t heard at all throughout the game. Reflecting on this I should have stopped the game until he had taken the player off but, in the end, I let it slip. Before I restarted play, I had a word with the home coach saying that I felt unsafe in the situation and that if it continued that I would abandon the game. He then went and spoke to the opposition coach about this, and it seemed to calm the coach down a bit. However, the abuse that I got from the away parents from the rest of the game about every decision that I made and shouting things at me the rest of the match, however I cannot exactly remember what they said as I was mainly focussing on the game at the time, but after the game I was told by a few people that they were swearing at me. The game ended with a 5-0 score to the home team. After the game I remained by the home coaches as I felt unsafe going over to where the spectators were. I was told by many of the home players after the game about their players calling them names and pushing them around and was even told that a parent had told their child to beat them up, none of which I saw or heard again and I’m sure the home team also said things to the opposition team as well. Shortly after I was approached by two spectators who were with the away team that wanted to access to player information and for me to have a word with a home player about something that they had said to them. The coach handled it and told them that they weren’t allowed to have that information and that he would have a word with his players, but they also blamed me of not doing my job properly. As a young referee, I felt unsafe in the environment. I was also wearing my purple referee shirt which shows that I am under 18 so they have no excuse for not knowing that I was a young referee.

Thank you.
Thanks for sharing and it's a shame that you were in that situation where you felt unsafe.

As I see it, this is the problem with asking for a sub. 2nd thread this weekend where it hasn't gone well.

I see 2 choices here a yellow for USB or a red for offinabus and Context of game etc. Would lead my decision making.

For future report writing, try to be a little more Concise. Its well written but is more a story of what happened than a factual report.

Think, 4Ws (there's normally 5 but we can leave out why) Who did What, When and Where

Well done for how you handled the situation. You did all the right things and it sounds like the home team did their part on your behalf too.
 

Kent Ref

Well-Known Member
I was sad to read about your situation. I hope your league / CFA deal with this thoroughly.

Hopefully your next game will be a lot more enjoyable.
 

JBeil

Member
Level 7 Referee
So, for 'stupid b****' really your only option is a red card for OFFINABUS. If someone called me that I wouldn't have it, and we shouldn't let players put up with it either.

Asking for information about the away side's players is a serious safeguarding issue and should be raised with your county's discipline team ASAP, as I suspect they will want to throw the book at the club involved. Since you're under eighteen, I'd hope they will be in touch about sending someone along to one of ypur next games, otherwise I'd suggest asking around to see if one of the learned colleagues on here is near your area and free to take a look.

Fortunately, these sorts of incidents are pretty rare, and hopefully your next game is much more enjoyable!
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
So, for 'stupid b****' really your only option is a red card for OFFINABUS. If someone called me that I wouldn't have it, and we shouldn't let players put up with it either.

Asking for information about the away side's players is a serious safeguarding issue and should be raised with your county's discipline team ASAP, as I suspect they will want to throw the book at the club involved. Since you're under eighteen, I'd hope they will be in touch about sending someone along to one of ypur next games, otherwise I'd suggest asking around to see if one of the learned colleagues on here is near your area and free to take a look.

Fortunately, these sorts of incidents are pretty rare, and hopefully your next game is much more enjoyable!
With all due respect to our members, as you are U18 I would suggest only asking for a mentor via your CFA.
 

Gamespoiler

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
Regarding parents, I would be pretty confident that the league rules like most junior leagues, make it the responsibility of the team manager to manage the behaviour of the parents. It's worth getting the league handbook, you can sometimes find this online to see what the rules are.

If you can confirm that, it's handy knowledge to have when parents over step the mark. Don't engage with them, speak to the team manager reminding him of the league rules and that it is his responsibility to manage their behaviour. Don't ignore their behaviour, if it goes unchecked, things do tend to get worse.

If he refuses, you could then refuse to continue the game until he manages it or the parents leave. Make it clear what will happen if they don't you will report to the league and will potentially be forced to abandon the match. Make it their choice and therefore their fault if they don't follow the league rules, it turns the attention away from you and onto the team manager.

As others have said, when you heard the unacceptable language from one player to the other you should have either issued a red card for offinabus or a yellow for USB. You stated you wanted the player off to calm down, a yellow card for adopting an aggressive attitude may have calmed the player down. I can see that you've tried to manage the situation by asking the manager to sub the player, that only works if the manager buys into what you're trying to do and if they also agree the language was unacceptable or agree the player needs some time out. That comes with experience and knowing the managers well enough that they respect you. I've been fortunate to have some great relationships with U18/U17 or open age managers and have managed to get to know a lot of players. This resulted on more than one occasion me being able to identify when a player was at risk of losing his cool, seeing the signs that I've seen before. In those instances, having a quiet word with the manager that he needs a little break or he may end up getting booked, sent off or injuring someone usually has the desired effect and strengthens my credibility during that match.

Game has gone now, try to forget it and move on to the next one
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
As a referee you have a number of tools at your disposal. The skill is in knowing what they are and when to use them, coupled with the confidence to ACTUALLY use them when you need them.

The second part is the hardest.

With nasty parents, as others have said, you need to know what the league rules are in terms of responsibility, that way you know who you should be speaking to. The "what" is that you need to know that you can refuse to continue, or abandon the game unless the person you are engaging with does what you've asked/told them to do. That could be "<x> over there, you need to get rid of them or we're not restarting" or "you need to tell the parents to calm down otherwise some of them will be going."

Based on your ask/tell you'll get a response which is anything from "yeah I'll sort it, sorry ref" through to "it's a public park they can stand where they like."

If you get the latter that's where confidence comes in. You need to be clear that the game is not restarting until <x> occurs and be fully prepared to follow through with your course of action.

I've threatened to abandon twice in my career. On one occasion I'd sent a player off from a problem team early (sin bin after 4 minutes, VC whilst in sin bin after 7 minutes) and he'd come back out and stood behind the dugout giving me verbals. I stopped the game and told the manager to get him gone to which I got the "public park" story and I told him that if he wasn't gone in 60 seconds I'd abandon and put a report in as to why. Manager continued to argue until my next words were "45 seconds" at which point he realised I was deadly serious and told his player to go sit in the car for the rest of the game.

Did I want to abandon? - No
Was I prepared to abandon? - Yes
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
I'll add one more point here. I have requested coaches remove quite a handful of parents from games over the years in youth games. I'd say in about half of those, one or more parents from the same team has thanked me for doing it, as that parent has been ruining games for the kids throughout the season. You'll also find that coaches often appreciate at it, as you've also just given them a tool to handle the problem parent. You're not the bad guy when you make a knucklehead parent leave; you're the one making the game more fun for the kids.
 

Joshref

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
This strikes hard with me because last year I was in your position. 2 years experience of reffing, and then as an U18 ref I was verbally abused by away parents. One came onto the pitch and like you I had to stay by the home managers after the game. It’s not like I had a terrible game either (the away manager gave me his number post match and asked if I would ref some games for them, something I ignored seeing as his parents abused me.) It was just a daunting experience, and one that I think still affects me a year on more than I’d care to admit. I’ve wrote about it on here before.

Hopefully your case is dealt with. My County FA were very good at following up on my report. They emailed me, getting more details, and one of the main refereeing guys phoned me up just to see if I was alright. He said something to me though that stuck with me. He said “I will fight tooth and nail to sanction this guy and his team, but we both know sanctions are unlikely to happen. If no sanctions occur, then don’t feel disheartened. Just remember that if another referee files in a report on them, and we have your report already as evidence, then the FA won’t be able to ignore it.” Lo and behold, the report is still being reviewed and sanctions are still yet to come from the report.

On the topic of the purple shirt, I ended up not wearing mine for a lot of my U18 time. I felt like I got far more abuse when wearing it than when I didn’t wear it. Felt like it undermined me, but I get it’s different for other people. It’s a good idea for the FA, but unfortunately a token purple shirt gesture won’t be enough. They can complain about a referee shortage all they want, but if they’re giving no backing to U18 referees against abuse other than a shirt then sadly what are they expecting to happen? A referee is practically a thankless job anyway, but when the people supposed to be backing you have no interest in you other than your money, then it’s jo surprise we've lost so many referees
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
I'll add one more point here. I have requested coaches remove quite a handful of parents from games over the years in youth games. I'd say in about half of those, one or more parents from the same team has thanked me for doing it, as that parent has been ruining games for the kids throughout the season. You'll also find that coaches often appreciate at it, as you've also just given them a tool to handle the problem parent. You're not the bad guy when you make a knucklehead parent leave; you're the one making the game more fun for the kids.
In my experience there's two types of team.

The first is as you've described, where the coach and the other parents (and the players) dislike the troublemaker as they are spoiling it for everyone else and they'll be grateful for your help.

The second is where sadly the culture of the team has this type of behaviour ingrained, you see it in how the manager, parents and players behave throughout.

The second category is where you need to have the confidence and courage to use the tools and follow through to the bitter end if needed.
 

lincs22

Supply League Observer
Staff member
Observer/Tutor
@Jam

Sorry to have heard about this. Ring Mark (details below) who is the referee development officer at West Riding CFA. He is a great guy and will be able to help you.

CONTACT US

Name: Mark Haywood

Email: info@westridingfa.com

Phone: 0113 282 1222 (Option 4)
 

Joshref

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
@Jam

Sorry to have heard about this. Ring Mark (details below) who is the referee development officer at West Riding CFA. He is a great guy and will be able to help you.

CONTACT US

Name: Mark Haywood

Email: info@westridingfa.com

Phone: 0113 282 1222 (Option 4)
Can back up that Mark is a top guy and someone who helped out massively with me in the past. Contact him Jam
 

Davidf

New Member
Level 9 Referee
I had something similar a couple of seasons ago. U11's and the away team were getting hammered, something like 13-0 at half time. The home team coach asked me to tell the away coach that he could field extra players to make it more competitive, which he declined - he said the players on his bench were injured. I'm sure one of them hadn't played yet!. Final score ended up being 22-0 or similar, and the home team played with a player less for alot of the 2nd half. Then, after the final whistle, it kicked off with both sets of parents. The home parents were trying to pack up while the away parents were stood at the touchline shouting abuse at them, The away manager asked me to go over to sort it out, which i did, even though i shouldn't have, but this gave me 1st hand experience on who was saying what etc. It turned out that one of the parents shouting abuse was the away manager's wife!!! - probably why he asked me to go over.
Anyway, i reported it all, and i later found out that both the club and parents got fined by the FA.

I am considerably older than Jam by the way!!!!

Also, i agree with the above comments - Mark is a top guy
 
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