In a follow-up question to the previous question about enforcing coaches to stay in their technical area and only convey tactical and positive messages [December 31, 2007], how does a referee go about warning the coach? Stopping play to do so draws attention to the situation and hinders the flow. But how can a referee keep one eye on the game and properly inform the coach that his behavior is inappropriate? However, if the coach has been warned and his behavior persists, stopping play would be appropriate to expel him from the game, correct? Also, should assistant referees warn coaches or get the head referee’s attention so the head ref can warn them?

USSF answer (February 20, 2008):
Unless the matter is particularly grave, the referee would usually wait until the next stoppage. However, if the situation is indeed grave — as any case of abuse would be –then stopping the game and drawing attention to the matter is an excellent tool in and of itself. It sends a clear message that the referee is serious about the matter. In such cases, the referee would stop play with the ball in the possession of the abusive coach’s team (if possible), advise the coach or other team official that this behavior is irresponsible and must stop if the coach or other team official wishes to remain in the vicinity of the field. If this warning is not effective, then another stoppage and the expulsion of the coach must follow. No cards, please, unless the rules of the competition require them. Also, do not engage in extended discussions when doing this in any circumstances: State the message and leave.

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