When I watch international games I always see referee’s talking to or warning players after a particularly tough challenge. My question is what are they saying? I understand that this is an alternative to giving a yellow card when a foul is bordering on reckless, but not quite warranting a card. But what are some ideas of things to say to players so they still respect your decisions, will be more mindful in their play but yet it doesn’t turn into an arguing match between you and the player?

USSF answer (February 26, 2008):
This is a difficult question to answer, as each referee is different in personality from every other referee and thus takes an individual approach to dealing with the many things that players do during the match. You might also consider that a referee might say different things to different players depending on the personality of the player. The best we can do for you is give some general guidance.

Some referees will come straight out with a no-nonsense statement that the player had better mend his/her ways or face the consequences. Others will put the matter more humorously.

The best plan is to say as little as possible. Deliver your message, whatever it may be, and move away quickly to the next place you will be needed.

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