How should a player handle a crappy referee?

Discussion in 'Referee' started by Errol V, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. Errol V

    Errol V Member+

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    My son, U16B Premier player, just returned from a tournament. Part of his account of the weekend was to show me the inside of his right ankle, upon which are 8 or 10 very obvious cleat marks which were the result of a straight-on, studs up challenge, which he said he thought for a minute might have broken his leg, but which did not elicit so much as a whistle from the referee. From this point onward, please assume this is an accurate account of the incident.

    I am wondering how you would advise your son to handle something like this. I am a mild mannered sort, but I am about as intolerant of bad referees as anyone, not outwardly, but when particularly so when it comes to the inability to recognize obvious fouls and those which endanger the safety of players. I have always told my son not to let a weak referee end his career, but rather to be respectfully proactive in letting a referee know when he is consistently missing unfair contact. Of course, he has never done this.

    What my son did in this case was to get slowly up off the ground, limp around for a while, and eventually keep playing. My first reaction to this was to tell him that he should have gotten up, shoved the other player to the ground, and while being sent off use every bad word I have taught him to tell the referee, loud enough for everyone at the match to here what a f****** loser he was, and why...OK, leave the player out of it, but take a caution for dissent by at least having a verbal go at the referee. When I returned to Earth, I thought, what would be the best possible way to handle something like this? What I came up with was to lie on the ground, holding the ankle until the referee stopped play and came over to ask me if I was injured, and then respond with a, "I'm not sure, I think he might have broken my leg, it was straight on, cleats up and with a lot of force. I can't believe you didn't call that, didn't you see it?" And then whatever else depending on how much other garbage was going unrecognized up until that point, and what you thought would be constructive. Nobody else is around, and you have his full attention.

    Obviously you can take shots at the nuances here, but what about the general idea? How should youth players handle a rough opponent and a referee who is in over his head?


  2. IllinoisRef

    IllinoisRef Member

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    No offense to you or your son. But since you weren't there I'd take his accounts with a grain of salt. Player always blame the referee for an injury. Just today I had an attacker carelessly run into a defender while she was clearing the ball away. She got the worst of it and ended up getting kicked in the shin, the defender cleared the ball and the follow through from the kick hit the attacker hard. Both went down. The attacker got hurt and I called a foul against her. People went ballistic since they only saw her getting to the ground in agony.
    That being said, there are refs out there that can't spot a foul if their lives depended on it. I believe the best course of action is to pass by the ref and respectfully ask them to call a little tighter (for both teams of course). If that doesn't work a good "refffffff, people are getting hurt here!" coming from a player should do the trick. If all else fails a good yellow card for dissent would be well worth.
  3. espola

    espola Member

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    The worst thing you can do after a ref has obviously missed a call is to confront him with it. If he didn't call it on first sight, he is not likely to be talked into it, and he still has his cards in his pocket.
    OMGFigo repped this.
  4. socal lurker

    socal lurker Member+

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    There is no good answer to this. Really, I think it is for the coach to handle, not the player, but there isn't much the coach can really do anyway. (I recall this type of situation as a captain, in which I decided, after my GK (in my opinion) had been blatantly fouled, that I was going to more ore less respectfully continue to complain until the ref gave me the caution. Might have made my GK feel better, but it did nothing to change the way the ref handled the game, though it forced me to be careful about a second yellow.)

    Practical advice? If the referee is clueless, absolutely nothing a player or coach can do will change that during the game. Just not gonna happen. Players can take cues from the referee as what will be permitted today, but I really don't think any complaining in any fashion is going to do anything to make that weak referee competent.

    (And yes, I have been that referee. (And I suspect many of us have.) Many, many moons ago, as a youth referee, I was talked into doing a game I was clearly unready for (actually, my dad accepted the assignment for me . . .) -- IIRC, it was a dual Bu16 game when I was 14 and had not yet played my first U16 game. I, well, I stunk. I realized, on the field, that I really couldn't tell what a foul was a that level. I was absolutely miserable and it was one of the most hopeless experiences of my life, as I knew I stunk, and I had no idea how to do anything to make it better. You coulda yelled at me all day, but there was nothing that would have helped me figure out when it was a foul and when it wasn't. Thank god, the two teams were not particularly nasty [it was a low-key spring league] and the coaches weren't out of control.)
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  5. aek chicago

    aek chicago Member

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    How does a good player handle a crappy referee?

    Probably the same way a good referee handles a crappy player.
    OMGFigo and IASocFan repped this.
  6. sjt8184

    sjt8184 Member

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    If player safety is the issue, make sure you have the coach contact the referee association/assignor. While judgement calls aren't going to be resolved this way, player safety has to be taken seriously. During the game, a simple ”hey ref, can you keep an eye on #, he's coming in reckless” will get you the best results. Screaming and overreacting won't help at all.
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  7. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

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    In a tournament setting, try to get the field marshal to contact the referee assignor to see if he (or someone else) can come and watch the game.
  8. techguy9707

    techguy9707 Member

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    Honestly, fairly, calmly. Like any other relationship you value.
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  9. IllinoisRef

    IllinoisRef Member

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    While your idea may help the next teams he would be reffing but it does not help with the situation the OP had in mind. I believed his was talking about the ongoing game his son was playing
  10. fairplayforlife

    fairplayforlife Member

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    I am of the opinion that there really isn't anything you can do in most situations. Some referees honestly don't realize that studs up tackles are any different that any other. You telling them as such is not going to do anything.

    Immediate results are non existent unless you can someone high up the chain there immediately to watch and see what is going on. This is not likely. The better idea might be to get your local assignors/instructors to emphasize the importance of recognizing studs up tackles in future clinics. Sometimes unless they hear it from an authority nothing will change, and even then it still may not.

    Tell your son to be cordial don't question and do what he can to protect himself, without hurting anyone else. If the ref can't recognize fouls there is no guarantee that he won't see one that isn't there and do something else a player would regret. Winning the game isn't worth an injury or a card. Just get through it.

    That was all I was able to do when a ref handed out 5 red cards to players on my team back in the day and made us continue with 6 players. Funny that the official report didn't have one of the cards later.
  11. Rufusabc

    Rufusabc Member+

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    Errol V....I have been in your shoes while watching my daughter play. And all I can say is sorry, and it's a good thing you weren't there, because I'm sure you would have had a go at the ref.

    About the match in question. If the referee was truly clueless, then make sure someone knows about it. If the referee missed this particular foul, then you have to chalk it up to the breaks of the game. He might have been in a bad position, might have been blocked off, or just plain froze.

    I was an AR in a match last year where the referee was absolutely horrible and was not up to the challenge of a u16 G's match with stuff happening all over the field. I contacted the assignor after the match, and was not invited back to the tournament. So, there are two sides to every story, and unfortunately your side is not always taken for the truth.

    I would advise the player having a quiet word with the referee though at the next stoppage though. As referees, we need to take our cues on match management from the players. And if you missed one, and someone is telling you the truth about it, it might be time to tighten it up.
    dadman repped this.
  12. espola

    espola Member

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    Some league game report sheets include a section on referee evaluation. Use it. A single negative report is unlikely to get more than a laugh, but a pattern of reports from several sources might help.
  13. espola

    espola Member

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    If the ref is bad enough that he is making protestable mistakes, it might help to have a neutral witness.
  14. uniteo

    uniteo Member+

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    I tell my players a bad ref is like a hole in the field...or lets say a puddle, because a good ref wouldn't let us play on an unsafe field...you just need to find a way around it. And I don't mean try stuff behind his back, it just means you have to play that much better and overcome another obstacle.

    How can he turn it to his advantage? If a ref lets aggressive play go and the other team is going in harder, then the feints are going to work that much better...we don't get to choose our challenges in life, we do get to choose how we deal with them. And bad refs do tend to even out over time, just not necessarily in the same game.
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  15. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

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    Why not? If a call comes over the radio to the referee assignor that he is needed at field X, you can be certain that someone will be there post-haste, at least at tournaments I've worked at in the past.
  16. jayhonk

    jayhonk Member+

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    We all know how U16B players do handle it: two thirds just keep playing and one-third take it up a notch, so pretty soon you have 3 or 4 players on each team steaming in on every challenge. Not fun.
    __________________
    There are two kinds of refs in this situation, the clueless; and the in over their head-not ready-or having a bad day ones. Everyone here has been the latter, and no one here is the first, I am sure!

    In either case, regardless of what you, as a player, say, you are not likely to evoke change. But, one thing is for sure, if you make the ref defensive, you will get nowhere. So, try to show empathy while making your point. "Sure is getting rough out here. Could you call it a bit tighter, on both teams."
    Or
    "Some of these players are getting a little crazy, aren't they? Could you call it a bit tighter, on both teams."
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  17. GTReferee

    GTReferee Member

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    I'll be answering this one with my player cap on.

    1) Do not confront the referee. You'll never win.
    2) Remember the jersey # of the player who clobbered you
    3) Wait a few minutes
    4) Line up said opponent just right and then tackle late and hard while making it look like an accident
    5) Apologize to ref for clumsy foul
    6) Rinse and repeat if necessary (unless a yellow card has been issued)
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  18. espola

    espola Member

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    Add -
    4.1 Help the other player up, saying in a low voice "Are we even?"
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  19. IllinoisRef

    IllinoisRef Member

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    I don't mean to argue for arguments sake but how will a player call the assignor over the radio? And even if the assignor or somebody else comes how will they talk to the ref in the middle of the game?
  20. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

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    The player couldn't. But an assistant coach, parent, substitute, etc. could request the field marshal contact the assignor.
  21. billf

    billf Member+

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    "Accidentally" stepping on a toe or foot does the trick too...

    On a side note, after playing pickup games with people I reffed with, I am convinced that a team of referees would be the dirtiest and most whinny team in a league.
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  22. IllinoisRef

    IllinoisRef Member

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    And what would the assignor do once he gets there in the middle of the game?

    Keep in mind that the original post was asking for advice for his son. A player.
  23. Errol V

    Errol V Member+

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    I don't get dirty in pickup games, but as a referee and coach I am definitely giving people an earful all along the way. I never shut up, ever.
  24. andymoss

    andymoss BigSoccer Supporter

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    Watch. And make corrections at HT. Or if the game is in the toilet, get the referee over at a stoppage for some advice. Or if it's really bad, pull that referee as he is urgently needed on field 17 as a last minute replacement.

    Son talks to coach talks to field marshal talks to assignor.
  25. Bubba Atlanta

    Bubba Atlanta Member+

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    [threadjack]
    Friend had a maintenance assessment recently. Assessor told him there were 36 fouls in the match, of which he had whistled 30. The six non-calls, to which the assessor took strong exception, involved kick follow-through contact much like you describe.

    How do the wise folks here typically handle this sort of thing? (The contact, not the assessor...) This, like many tackles, is where you will often hear that time-honored cry, "But I got the ball!"

    [/threadjack]

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