Entries related to Referee Code of Ethics

Question:
I was out doing a club tournament and had a medical issue on the field not to the point where I couldn’t finish the match,but was having trouble breathing.It was u-11. I had hands on my hips and was bending over a little. I am in really good shape for my age.I have done a bunch of 45 minute matches in one weekend.I didn’t know that the assignor was having me assets.I don’t know why he was having me assessed on u-11 game.I have about a 5,000 soccer games under my belt with a variety of age groups.

Is there some procedure that he has to follow and shouldn’t he have said something to me?Shouldn’t he have asked for explanation? This assigner ultimate refused to give me anymore games.

This happen again this time I knew I was being asset at a referee academy.I was putting my hands on my hips and bending over a little bit.They asked me and we got into a bit of discussion.I said I am having trouble breathe.I went and drank diet coke or something and was able to breathe better.I was told do not put my hands on my hips and bend over.Is this really that critical of a problem me putting hands on hips and the other things and should I tell the tournament assignors and assessors?Should Assignors and assessors ask? This is the second incident of any kind that I have ever had.It would suck have an incident where I actually stopped breathing on the field.I know the chemical involved that set off the incident.They are Mold and corn.I usually just avoid them.Both times I was able to finish out my day and work the next day.I paid for it on Monday my lungs were on fire on Monday .Soccer people I talked to weren’t sure how to handle it.

USSF answer (February 28, 2012):
Yes, an administrator or assignor can request an assessment of any referee on any game under his or her jurisdiction. That is well within the duties of such a person. And assessors can ask if there is some problem they should know about, but only after the game is over; they are not allowed to interfere with the game before it is completed.

You don’t tell us how old you are — and we don’t really need to know — but the sight of a referee having trouble breathing, hands on hips and puffing, is not one that inspires confidence in players, whether young or old. in spectators and coaches, or in referee administrators of one sort or another who see it. If observers and players detect a weakness in the referee, they will exploit it to the detriment of the game. We can only suggest that you seek the advice of your physician on how to resolve this problem with mold and corn (and possibly other causes).

Question:
If a player is sent off (red card), he/she cannot play in their next game.

Question 1: if the referee does not include the send-off in the game report, or does not submit a game report, is the player still required to not play in their next game?

Question 2: It is VERY common for referees NOT to tell a youth player why (unsporting behavior, dissent, serious foul play, etc) a card is being displayed. When asked by the player or coach, the VERY common response is ‘I don’t have to tell you’. How are youth players to learn from a mistake when there is absolutely no reason given by the ‘professional offical’ as to what the mistake was? Are game reports accessible to coaches, players, and/or parents?

USSF answer (February 28, 2012):
1. Referees are expected to submit their match reports as quickly as possible, usually within 2-3 days of the game. If they do not do so, then technically the events described (or NOT described) therein did not occur — but see below.

Technicalities aside, realistically the game occurred: people were there; witnesses can be subpoenaed; the referee could be reminded of his report; the player who was red carded should, on his own initiative or by direction of his coach, sit out his team’s next regularly-scheduled match. All this should occur even without the actual filing of the referee’s report. An opposing coach could certainly note at the team’s next regularly-scheduled game that Player X should be sitting out and, if this is disputed on any basis (including the lack of a report from the referee), a complaint could be filed which would eventually trigger a demand upon the referee to get the requiredreport in. In real life, there are literally thousands of games that occur with no formal referee report going into a league or association office — of course, in most of these, nothing untoward has occurred, but no one has any problem accepting that there was a game, there was a score, and Team B won.

2. The referee is REQUIRED to tell a player that he or he has been cautioned or sent off for one of the seven reasons for either sort of misconduct.

They cannot refuse to tell this to the player and should be reported to refereeing authorities if they do so refuse. They are NOT required to tell the coach anything. In most states (we cannot speak for all of them) the reports are not available to non-refereeing or competition officials, but appropriate parties can be told of the contents regarding a specific person or incident.

Question:
Two quick questions, at the half of a u18 game. AR approaches the center,and states the center is “calling for the other side” Center tells AR the game is being called for both sides. AR argues the point,and is asked by the center to return to their sideline,AR at such time throws down their flag,and quits the game. Is this not a very poor behavior,and an example by the AR,who is also a referee? forget if LAW 5 or 6 covers AR. is this not reportable to the local association. second during a very physical game, team A and Team B are struggling for the ball,play continues. center verbally warns both players about use of elbows. A spectator jumps up out of their seat on the sideline in a aggressive manner,moves to the touch line,ands starts yelling at center about elbows. center approaches partway to sideline, tells spectator both players have been warned,and it’s under control,to sit back down. after game same spectator enters the field,and approaches the center, verbally assaults,and threatens the center. spectator is instructed to leave the field. does the referee retreat,or does he still have the field?

USSF answer (November 2, 2011):
Regarding the assistant referee, Law 6 tells us: “In the event of undue interference or improper conduct, the referee will relieve an assistant referee of his duties and make a report to the appropriate authorities,” using the the match report form each referee should fill out after every match. This AR has also failed to live up to the Referee Code of Ethics and could be brought up on charges under U. S. Soccer Federation Policy 531-10 – Misconduct of Game Officials .

Regarding the aggressive spectator, Law 5 tells us that the referee stops, suspends or abandons the match because of outside interference of any kind. Before abandoning the game, however, the referee should ask the home team (tournament/league officials, if present) to have the person removed. If there is no help from these officials, then the match is abandoned and the referee includes full details in the match report.

Question:
Parents sitting within a few feet of the corner flags (basically, their positioning impedes the soccer players from having the appropriate space to kick the ball). I have traditionally had problems with rec parents (in particular) who get mad when asked to move at least 2 yards from the lines or from outside the corner goal area. As a matter of fact, this weekend a newly bridged ref (from grade 9 to grade 8 and whose dad was the coach of the team playing) got mad when asked to move (mind you he was sitting, as a spectator, within 2-3 ft of the flag – if he had laid down he would have touched the flag). During stoppage of the game, he came to the pitch to question why I would make a “ref” (while pointing to his new 2012 badge) move – wanted me to tell him “which rule”. I told him I’d be happy to talk to him after the game but not why I was currently reffing. Then he said, “The game has stopped. Tell me why you want me to move”. I told him I was in the middle of the game and he needed to leave the field so I could get the game going again. His dad then told him to get off the field so the team could play. Naturally, he did not come to find me at the end of the game.

I plan to talk to the Association today about this behavior; however it seems that there is some “ethical” issue that he may have violated
- particularly since he entered the field and had no reason to be on the field.

USSF answer (October 31, 2011):
This sort of situation is usually dealt with in the rules of the particular competition under which the game is being played. In other words, the rules of the league or the rec council or tournament, etc. In most cases these rules forbid spectators (particularly partisan spectators) from being behind the goal lines or less than three yards from either of the touchlines,although it will vary depending on where you are.

While the errant official may not have been on the game itself, he clearly violated a number of items under the Referee Code of Ethics:

(1) I will always maintain the utmost respect for the game of soccer.
(2) I will conduct myself honorably at all times and maintain the dignity of my position.
//3 items clipped//
(6) I will be loyal to my fellow officials and never knowingly promote criticism of them.
//2 items clipped//
(9) I will do my utmost to assist my fellow officials to better themselves and their work.
(10) I will not make statements about any games except to clarify an interpretation of the Laws of the Game.
/1 item clipped//
(12) I consider it a privilege to be a part of the U.S. Soccer Federation and my actions will reflect credit upon that organization and its affiliates.

CODE OF ETHICS FOR REFEREES

August 26, 2011

Question:
Could you please tell me in the soccer or football by-laws as to the number or law number broken when you see an official actually drinking at a game he is supposed to officiating?

USSF answer (August 26, 2011):
IF by “drinking” you mean liquor or beer or ale, rather than water, iced tea, or soft drinks, then the referee has not broken any law or by-law, but has clearly violated Items 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, and 12 of the Referee Code of Ethics (contained in the Referee Administrative Handbook):

Code of Ethics for Referees
(1) I will always maintain the utmost respect for the game of soccer.
(2) I will conduct myself honorably at all times and maintain the dignity of my position.
(3) I will always honor an assignment or any other contractual obligation.
(4) I will attend training meetings and clinics so as to know the Laws of the Game, their proper interpretation and their application.
(5) I will always strive to achieve maximum team work with my fellow officials.
(6) I will be loyal to my fellow officials and never knowingly promote criticism of them.
(7) I will be in good physical condition.
(8) I will control the players effectively by being courteous and considerate without sacrificing fairness.
(9) I will do my utmost to assist my fellow officials to better themselves and their work.
(10) I will not make statements about any games except to clarify an interpretation of the Laws of the Game.
(11) I will not discriminate against nor take undue advantage of any individual group on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
(12) I consider it a privilege to be a part of the U.S. Soccer Federation and my actions will reflect credit upon that organization and its affiliates.

In addition, the action may in fact be in violation of civil law, depending on where this occurred (it is public, it is in a public place, it may be on school or park grounds, etc., all of which may be controlled by various laws regarding the consumption of alcohol).

REFEREE SUCCESSION

August 15, 2011

Question:
This is not a situation I have encountered, but came to mind when reading “Subbing the Referee” (March 8, 2011). My question relates to a different hypothetical, inspired by the answer given.

It has been established that a CR cannot be subbed out and should remain the CR throughout the match. It was established elsewhere that a CR who is injured and cannot continue may be replaced by the fourth official or senior AR. But what if a CR, for whatever reason, does not wish to continue, but sees no cause to suspend, abandon, or terminate the match? Sounds weird, I know, but I strained myself to think of just such a situation:

CR is working a match when his very pregnant wife (sitting at pitch-side) goes into labor. The CR is physically able to continue the match, but feels obligated to go with his wife to the hospital. The CR appoints the fourth official (4O, I call him) to continue in his stead and finish the game.

Let’s make the following assumptions:

1. We know that the Laws do not have allowances for this or any other personal matter; match officials (CR and company) are well-aware that they are expected to give the match the highest priority when they choose to accept the match, and in an ideal world, the CR might not have accepted the assignment knowing that his wife is due any minute.

2. We assume that the league director was aware of the circumstance and didn’t have any problem with it; maybe this CR was the best in the league and the director was willing to take the risk for this championship game… or something.

3. The director designated the 4O to be the CR’s first alternate in care of incapacity, pursuant to the second bullet point in this page: http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/lawsofthegame/law/newsid=1290885.html

In the event that the CR is able but unwilling to continue the match, or even if he just “walks off the job” as it were, can or should the 4O take over as CR? Should the match be considered abandoned and replayed with a new CR who isn’t going to put other obligations ahead of his game?

I’m split, as the incapacity clause might be invoked if the CR, due to his wife’s medical condition, is found psychologically incapable of continuing – a condition not unlike a physical incapacity. But it’s also a stretch, since the CR here is voluntarily choosing to abdicate his authority to the 4O. What would you do?

USSF answer (August 14, 2011):
We are not familiar with the term “CR,” but presume it to mean the referee.

Unless the game involves only a single referee, with no neutral assistant referees or fourth official, your citation from the Notes at the end of the Laws of the Game regarding who will succeed the referee who must leave the game for any reason before the game has been completed is correct. The competition authority, i.e., the people who make the rules for the competition, determine which match official will take over if the referee has to relinquish control of the match. The reason for the departure is immaterial; if the referee must leave, whether for physical or mental health or for any other legitimate reason, then he or she must be replaced by designated match official.

If the game is officiated by that single referee mentioned in the previous paragraph, then the game must be terminated and a full report sent to the appropriate authorities.

We certainly hope that no referee would leave a match simply because of “other obligations” — beyond the pregnant wife or seriously-ill relative/partner. To do so would be a violation of the first three points of the referee Code of Ethics (see below), for which the referee could be severely punished by the refereeing authorities.

Code of Ethics for Referees
(1) I will always maintain the utmost respect for the game of soccer.
(2) I will conduct myself honorably at all times and maintain the dignity of my position.
(3) I will always honor an assignment or any other contractual obligation.

The only possible problem that might arise if the referee leaves is choosing the correct restart when the game is halted for referee departure. If it was for any reason not stated otherwise in the Laws of the Game, it would be a dropped ball.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
It pains me to report that a very large number of referees from several states are cheating on the recertification exams by sending the questions to me and other Q&A sites/boards. I have fallen prey to several of them, many more have flooded other sites. All of the answers to the questions on the recert exams are EASILY FOUND in the Laws of the Game and similar documents.

This is a severe breach of the referee code of ethics and against stated policy in the states concerned, whose authorities are aware of the situation.

It grieves me very much to have to say this, but I will henceforth report each and every person who sends such a question to the authorities in his or her state.

Question:
While attending a high-profile rivalry game on April 29th, I witnessed a situation that was VERY similar to the Question posted (below) on your site and answered on April 8, 2010:

AR SEES WHAT REFEREE DID NOT
Question:
If an assistant referee witnesses a foul but does not call it because “he is not closer to the foul than the center ref” and the center ref does not call it, should the assistant notify the center as to what he saw or let the play continue?
Answer (April 8, 2010):
“Closer to the offense” is much less important than angle of view. If the referee cannot see the offense because his or her view is blocked, and the assistant referee can see the event clearly, then the AR must flag if the there is a definite foul or misconduct.
In this year’s copy of the Laws you will find this excerpt in the Interpretation of the Laws of the Game, under Law 6:
Before signalling for an offense, the assistant referee must determine that:
* the offense occurred closer to the assistant referee than to the referee (this applies, in certain circumstances, to offenses committed in the penalty area)
* the offense was out of the view of the referee or the referee’s view was obstructed
* the referee would not have applied advantage if he had seen the offense

The foul (off sides) that was not called by the AR in the April 29th game resulted in the first goal of the match and clearly set the tone, momentum and results of the final outcome.
The AR hesitated in making the call… looked to the Referee for confirmation on the call… Referee shrugged… AR, in position, closest to the action, chose not to make the call.

What is troubling, and I have yet to discover any laws or interpretations of available laws/rules/guidelines, involves that fact that the AR had a clear conflict-of-interest in the outcome of the match played. In no particular order… he was the Host Club’s Area Referee… He is a Club Board Vice President…. He was the Team Manager of the Club Team that received the benefit of the No Call goal. He did not disclose any of these conflicts prior to the game to team officials. (His daughter used to play on the team earlier in the year, but had left the club 2 months prior.)

As the Manager of the team, the individual had a clear understanding that the winner of this particular game, now in protest, will go on to win the Spring League and the Association’s bid to complete in the State’s valuable 2010-2011 Premier League.

I am familiar with conflict-of-interest guidelines involving assignments to games involving family member… but are there rules/regulations protecting the integrity of the game from a situation such as the one described above?

While many long standing elders in our sport agree that the situation should have been avoided right from the start…, at the very least by the Coach who was lined up on the same sideline as its Team Manager in the assignment as AR…., no one is familiar with a similar situation, anywhere, to draw conclusions, support or suggestion on how to proceed.

Was there a law/rule broken in this instance?

Your insight and direction on this matter would be GREATLY appreciated.

USSF answer (May 24, 2010):
We cannot make an official decision on the matter, but a Federation policy would certainly seem to have been broken. A full official decision can be made only by your state association. The Federation Policy is 531-10, cited in full below:

Policy 531-10–Misconduct of Game Officials
Section 1. Terms and References
(A) “Game Officials” includes the following:
(1) all currently registered USSF referees, assistant referees, 4th officials or others appointed to assist in officiating in a match.
(2) any non-licensed, non-registered person serving in an emergency capacity as a referee (under Rule 3040).
(3) any club assistant referee.
(4) any referee development program person performing any official function at a match.
(B) “Referee Development Program Person” includes any referee, referee administrator, referee assessor, referee instructor, referee assignor, or other person serving in such capacity in a line or supervisory position, including members of any referee committee appointed by the Federation, its Divisions, Affiliates or Associates, a State Association, or a competition, tournament or other appropriate authority.
(C) “Hearing” means a meeting of at least five members, one of which is designated or elected to serve as Chairman. The Chairman of a hearing shall not vote except to break a tie vote. Such members, including the Chairman, shall not be the State Referee Administrator, the State Director of Referee Instruction, the State Director of Referee Assessment, a Federation National or FIFA Referee, or any other member of the State Referee Administration.
43(D) “State Association” shall be that State Association through which the game official is registered or referee development is appointed. Where a state has both Amateur and Youth National State Associations, the reference shall mean that State Association which has legal authority within its state to administer the registration of the referee or the appointment of the referee development program person charged.

Section 2. Procedures
(A) Misconduct at a Match
When any game official is accused of having committed misconduct toward another game official, participant, or spectator at a match, or of having a conflict of interest, the original jurisdiction to adjudicate the matter shall vest immediately in the State Association or Organization Member through which the accused game official is registered. In the situation where Amateur and Youth State Associations exist in a state, and the incident of alleged misconduct occurred at a match sanctioned by one State Association, jurisdiction shall vest with the State Association sanctioning the match in question.
(B) Misconduct Away From a Match
When any game official, referee, referee assistant or referee development program person is accused of unethical conduct, misuse or abuse of authority or conflict of interest in any matter in the pursuit of or may affect the individual’s official dealings within and as authorized by the Federation, its Divisions, Affiliates or Associates, a State Associations or Organization Member, or a competition, tournament or other appropriate authority, the matter shall vest immediately in the State Association through which the accused game official is registered or through which the referee development program person is appointed.
(C) Any allegation of misconduct or of conflict of interest by a game official as described by subsection (A) of this section, or of unethical conduct, misuse or abuse of authority or conflict of interest as described by subsection (B) of this section, shall be made in writing to the State Referee Administrator or to the State Association(s) or Organization Member that shall report all such allegations including any allegations against the State Referee Administrator, to the State Association(s) or Organization Members through which the accused game official is registered or through which the accused referee development program person is appointed.
(D) Upon receipt by the appropriate Organization Member of a verified written complaint, a hearing shall be conducted within 30 days from verification pursuant to guidelines established by the Organization Member having jurisdiction as provided by subsection (A) or (B) of this section. The guidelines may include referring the complaint to the State Referee Committee for the hearing. The hearings and appeal process shall provide for adequate due process for the accused person including proper notice of charges, the right to bring witnesses in defense, and the right to confront and to cross-examine the accusers.
(E) The Chairman of the hearing committee shall transmit the findings of the committee in writing to all parties concerned including the accused and the accusers and to the State Association(s) or Organization Member within seven days of the hearing.
(F) Any party subject to penalties shall receive, at the time of notification of the decision, a notice of the rights of appeal and a copy of the procedures and deadline dates required for such an appeal to be properly considered. Time for filing an appeal shall start with the date official receipt of the decision by the party making the appeal.

Section 3. Penalties
(A) The severity of the penalty imposed upon an individual shall be determined by the decision-making body having jurisdiction.
(B) Penalties may be among the following: (1) letter of reprimand;
(2) a fine;
(3) suspension from all active participation in the Federation for a fixed period of time;
(4) any combination of clauses (1), (2), or (3) of this subsection; and
(5) dismissal from the Federation.
(C) Any individual while under suspension may not take part in any activity sponsored by the Federation or its members.

Section 4. Appeals
(A) Any game official who is found guilty of misconduct as defined in this rule may appeal the decision of the hearing committee as follows:
(1) to a Referee Disciplinary Committee jointly appointed by the Amateur and Youth State Associations.
(2) to the Federation Appeals Committee as provided under Federation Bylaw 705.
(B) The party appealing the decision of a committee shall have ten (10) days to file the notice of appeal of a decision. Time for filing an appeal shall start with the date of official receipt of the decision by the party making the appeal.

NEW CITATION, POLICY 531-11, PART III
The standards of conduct for Federation referees are explicated below in Policy 531-11, Part III.

Policy 531-11–National Referee Development Program
//clipped//
Part III–Standards of Conduct
Subpart A–Purpose
To define general guidelines to determine whether members of the National Referee Development Program act within acceptable limits so far as ethical conduct or conflict of interest are reflected in their conduct as soccer officials and members of the United States Soccer Federation.

Subpart B–Policy
Membership as a privilege offered and granted to individuals who perform capably as State Referee Administrators, referees, referee assignors, referee instructors and referee assessors during United States Soccer Federation sanctioned activities. It carries with it an obligation for each individual member to uphold and promote the stated goals and objectives of the Federation and do nothing to bring the Federation into disrepute or work against its goals and objectives. Any conduct which is considered unethical or as a conflict of interest shall be subject to possible disciplinary actions.

Subpart C–Code of Ethics for Referees
(1) I will always maintain the utmost respect for the game of soccer.
(2) I will conduct myself honorably at all times and maintain the dignity of my position.
(3) I will always honor an assignment or any other contractual obligation.
(4) I will attend training meetings and clinics so as to know the Laws of the Game, their proper interpretation and their application.
(5) I will always strive to achieve maximum teamwork with my fellow officials.
(6) I will be loyal to my fellow officials and never knowingly promote criticism of them.
(7) I will be in good physical condition.
(8) I will control the players effectively by being courteous and considerate without sacrificing fairness.
(9) I will do my utmost to assist my fellow officials to better themselves and their work.
(10) I will not make statements about any games except to clarify an interpretation of the Laws of the Game.
(11) I will not discriminate against nor take undue advantage of any individual group on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
(12) I consider it a privilege to be a part of the United States Soccer Federation and my actions will reflect credit upon that organization and its affiliates.
//rest clipped//