Ref4Me

Junior/Youth "You must've taken a big bribe, ref"

Matthew

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
This comment came after a winning goal scored from a tight offside decision in my U12 Academy game yesterday (I think it was offside, but with no ARs/CARs and an obstructed view I just couldn't give it).

With the obvious issue of cards being actively discouraged in academy games, I explained to the player that what he had said wasn't acceptable and that if it wasn't an academy game he would have been dismissed, before asking his very unhappy coach, who told me I needed to lighten up, to substitute him. For me, use of the word "c**t" or calling me or one of my assistants a cheat or otherwise questioning my integrity will always result in a dismissal, regardless of the age of the player.

The player's Dad, who had been stood too far away to hear what had gone on, came over to me in the car park to ask what had happened and after I explained he apologised and said he'd make sure his son understood it was wrong. Even better than that, he then asked me to hold on a couple of minutes and brought his son off the pitch to come and apologise to me. I know there's a wider debate on sanctions for youth players that I won't go into again, but I thought this was an interesting example of when treating them as adults works - there's no way the player will do that again. Ultimately, we're there to educate at that age and by ignoring the comment because he was young I wouldn't have been doing my job.
 

santa sangria

RefChat Addict
In the end, you, the ref, have to decide what you think qualifies as OFFINABUS in that specific situation. So, you are not wrong.

Personally I have never got involved in asking coaches to substitute players. I have no problem red carding here knowing I would have to deal with fall out. The father's apology was great but also telling. It's not acceptable - and I personally think in elite youth football it's easier to sanction something like this.

If the coach of an academy team has a player accusing a referee of taking a bribe, this is the coach's problem, not the referee's.
 

Matthew

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
By who? Regardless, I'd be very dismissive of that notion
By all involved. I was explicitly told the first time I refereed at this particular academy that cards were not to be given and to deal with discipline issues through the coaches. This is apparently common practice and there are many referees I know who've been told the same thing at numerous academies.

I have a problem with not carding here. Not having a go at you @Matthew but the mindset that has been created. The younger referees are damned if they do and damned if they don't because of some people who have lost touch with the reality of what the game has turned into.
To be very honest I also have an issue with not carding, but by pulling out a red card in that situation I'd have effectively ended my time refereeing at the academy. Caught between a rock and a hard place, but asking the coach to remove the player was the only thing I felt able to do.
 

Kent Ref

Well-Known Member
Since when do academies have the right to tell the referee "please don't use cards"?

I have no reason to doubt Matthew so wonder what is going on here. Seems very unhealthy.
 

alexv

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
Cards do tend to be discouraged at younger academy games, but you can still use them. I think what you did in your situation is definitely fair enough, but for things like deliberately reckless fouls or consistently stopping promising attacks, I’ve never had complaints for cards at academy level. I did have a red at an U13 academy ‘unofficial’ tournament. My AR (level 3) flagged after a goal and wanted me to caution (no sin bins) a player who called him ‘F-ing useless’. As I put my yellow back in my pocket, the player shouted ‘you’re all f-ing sh*t’. Sent him off. The manager was moaning because ‘he’s only a kid’, but speaking to the other coaches and officials, that red was accepted and expected.

I’ve started going into academy games with the mindset of ‘try to manage it as much as possible, but ultimately use the cards if it’s going to help
 

santa sangria

RefChat Addict
I have a problem with not carding here. Not having a go at you @Matthew but the mindset that has been created. The younger referees are damned if they do and damned if they don't because of some people who have lost touch with the reality of what the game has turned into.
Just in case my phrasing was confusing - we are on the same page - I am giving a red card here (probably regardless of age or context - but never say never).
 

Andrew.Rainsbury

Rainbow74
Level 7 Referee
Observer/Tutor
I do my fair share of Academy games, mentoring and officiating - also have a son in an EFL academy.
I ad a hypothetical discussion with academy staff on a red card offence recently; violent conduct absolutely no issues with a red being shown.
Other situations could perhaps be managed by an academy coach - those who do not do academy games or are not privy to this have little knowledge of this world!
Firstly the club will take a much harder line than any county FA would! Secondly, the games are usually 4 x 20-minute development games (i.e. technically they are 4 separate games) where until at U18 the scoreline is irrelevant and the only competition is to win your personal battle/goal, if the team also win - then that's a bonus!
Usually, you will find that U9-U13 rarely have AR's leaving the middle to call offside, a skill to learn in itself for the youth referees who mostly do these matches in my area.
What I do find consistent at this level, is that these players will absorb your explanations and generally be thankful that you have gone into detail on how you came to that decision.
 

Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Nobody mentioned cards to me. I know they're coached to behave themselves and are afraid of a tackle, but I ref them as normal. My kiddie card count is very low anyway
 

bester

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
Refs take the 'no card philosophy' to extremis in these academy games.

Should've sent him off and the player would probably have a hearing in front of the club the next week to make a decision on whether he stays at the club. Speak to the head of the academy, the u12 coaches may not always be full-time staff.
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
Since when do academies have the right to tell the referee "please don't use cards"?

I have no reason to doubt Matthew so wonder what is going on here. Seems very unhealthy.

The same way that they are able to completely ignore the laws and insist that games are four quarters instead of two halves.

I might have asked the parent how his son knew about the concept of bribes, pretty sure I didn't when I was 12 ... :)
 

Dino Ref

Active Member
Level 6 Referee
Can someone explain why it's discouraged at academy level but other threads on this site say to give them in normal junior games?

I've only done a few academy games and haven't actually gave any cards but am I missing something?

If anything shouldn't you give them at academy level since it's higher / more professional?
 

alexv

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
Can someone explain why it's discouraged at academy level but other threads on this site say to give them in normal junior games?

I've only done a few academy games and haven't actually gave any cards but am I missing something?

If anything shouldn't you give them at academy level since it's higher / more professional?
Just referee like normal. Where I am, cards aren't that common and it's kind of like a thing where refs just try to manage things as much as they can. I try and keep my cards in my pocket, but when I do issue them, it's generally accepted. From my experience, they would rather you speak to them rather than be overly strict. Personally, I don't understand it - surely at academy level, it should be the highest standard, and I agree with you
 

LancsReferee

New Member
Level 7 Referee
GraemeS is dead right. Academies doesn't want their kids carded and resent it when you do. That's mainly why I have stopped doing these fixtures, as they breed unhealthy expectations from players and the coaches are totally unsupportive of cautions. Not worth the hassle and unsurprising that many players in these organisations have a chip on their shoulder and speak to officials how they like. The whole 'no carding' thing is ridiculous.
 

st john

New Member
Level 7 Referee
From my experience at Academies they don't want any cards and say they will deal with any issues.......had a game last year at U16's when a player from the visiting team committed a DOGSO as I was getting the card out the home team coaches were saying 'No card Ref just the penalty'. As stated earlier the result doesn't matter in these games but it does leave the players with a false impression of how things work.
 

RefIADad

Well-Known Member
Level 7 Referee
I saw this in a different context three different times in U13 matches this weekend where I was watching in a non-officiating capacity. In two of the cases, obvious red card DOGSO fouls (one was a defender with no chance to play the ball tripping the attacker clear on goal from behind, one was a two-handed forearm shove to the back of a player clear on goal) were ignored. In the trip, the referee called a trip on the attacker. In the second case, the referee (who was barely leaving the center circle at the time of contact) gave the universal "he went down way too easy" hand motion. In the third place, a player ate a cheekbone-high elbow from a player challenging on a header.

You'll never convince me that in these three cases, the referees didn't realize that they SHOULD have sent the players off for DOGSO or SFP, but they wouldn't because it's U13. We had an officials association meeting later last night, and as the chapter clinician I made it very clear that our referees are to have the confidence to send players off at any age if it's truly earned.

I have zero issues whatsoever sending off a player at this age if it's warranted. Maybe if it's a borderline situation between a red and a yellow, I'll give the yellow and give the player a public bollocking. But in these three cases, they were obvious red cards. If we as referees want to see some of the stuff we see in older ages out of the game, then we need to deal with it at younger ages. I am positive that any of these three kids would have learned a lesson from being sent off and suspended the next game.
 
Last edited:

GraemeS

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
GraemeS is dead right. Academies doesn't want their kids carded and resent it when you do. That's mainly why I have stopped doing these fixtures, as they breed unhealthy expectations from players and the coaches are totally unsupportive of cautions. Not worth the hassle and unsurprising that many players in these organisations have a chip on their shoulder and speak to officials how they like. The whole 'no carding' thing is ridiculous.
I will say that in my limited experience of academy fixtures, coaches have always been very supportive. If you pull a player aside to give him a public bollocking, you'll almost immediately see the coach send a sub to warm up and that player will have been pulled off to calm down within 5 minutes, even if it would only have been a yellow card-level offence.

I've been fortunate enough that I've only seen one red card offence in an academy match, and that was DOGSO when I was on the line of a competitive U18's match where cards are to be applied as usual. But if I'd been in the middle of a lower age level match and seen a player throw a punch, I'm not continuing the game with him on the pitch - the only concession to it being an academy match is that I will give the coach a brief opportunity to sub him off. If he doesn't want to play the game and refuses to enact the sub, I won't play along any more either and will just send the player off - however again I want to emphasise, nothing in my experience of academy matches so far has suggested this would be at all necessary.
 
Top