July 1, 2008
1) In a recent game, a player was quite disrespectful towards me, and even twice, in the same conversation, used foul language (“F” word), as well as asked “have you ever refereed before?” I was extremely nice, as I only cautioned him, given that it was his first time playing in the league. I simply asked that he act maturely like all other players in the league (who for the most part respect my calls, given that most think I’m a good ref who properly knows/enforces the Laws of the Game). When I asked his name (we’re required to obtain the name in this league–unfortunately, no ID cards are issued), he refused to give it to me (simply laughed and again mocked me). I strongly suggested he provide it unless he wanted to see a red card. After the game, and over the course of the next few days, I’ve become upset with myself for not issuing a red card during the match for his various acts of dissent, as well as for a lack of any signs of contrition (no apology by him, only by his captain). My question to you (I’m sure the answer is ‘no’): I know that one can ‘downgrade’ a card from red to yellow, but is there precedent for one to ‘upgrade’ a card from yellow to red? If so, please point me directly to the source (couldn’t find it on your or FIFA’s website), so that I can show the commissioner, as well as his captain. This guy needs to learn a lesson.
2) If a player like this shouts dissentful remarks while the ball is in play, I just want to make sure of where the restart is (near him or where the ball was when the whistle was blown) supposed to take place. Alternatively, shall I wait next time until play stops (out of bounds) until issuing a card? His words were so egregious that I stopped play immediately.
3) In a recent game, a goalkick was started with the FB passing wide to the GK. The GK became nervous with pressure by the opposing FW, and simply dribbled back to his box, where, once inside, he fell on the ball and used his hands. This incident isn’t your normal passback situation where it leads to an indirect free kick. My question: is such a play permissible, or should it also lead to an indirect free kick for the other team? Thank you.
USSF answer (July 1, 2008):
1) When a player clearly “uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures” toward the referee or any other participant in the game, that player is sent off. No cautions, and no ifs, ands, or buts. If the player will not give the referee his/her name, then the referee should get it from the captain. And no, once given, a send-off cannot be downgraded to a caution if the game has been restarted. Nor may a caution normally be changed to a send-off once the game has restarted. The referee must simply include all pertinent details in the match report.
2) If the referee stops play for misconduct while the ball is in play, the restart is an indirect free kick from the place where the offense occurred. In this case, where the player uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures.
3) This situation is indeed the classic offense of the goalkeeper playing the ball with his hands after it was kicked deliberately to him by a teammate. The restart is an indirect free kick for the opposing team from the place where the goalkeeper played the ball with his hands (bearing in mind the requirements listed in Law 13 regarding indirect free kicks inside the goal area.