In a local U9 tournament refereed by a USSF referee, three fans of a team were ejected from the field of play for unsportsmanlike conduct directed to the referee (abusively protesting calls). This behavior also had an adverse and intimidating impact on the opposing team. The ejected fans refused to leave the field of play, one issuing a “make me” taunt to the referee. The referee supposedly referred the situation to “field marshals”, play was resumed, and the ejected fans remained for the balance of the game.
My questions: is this what should have happened, and if not, what should have happened?
USSF answer (January 16, 2012):
Without going into the terminology used in the questions, we can safely say that no, this is not what should have happened. The referee has no power under the Laws to send people away from the field; however, if the field marshals do not do what they are supposed to do, remove trouble makers, the referee does have the power (see Law 5) to stop, suspend, or abandon the match because of outside interference of any kind. That includes disturbances such as you describe. If the difficulty continued after the field marshals failed in doing their duty, then the referee should have done his duty to the Letter of the Laws and the Spirit of the Game and the players and abandoned the game for this outside interference. He or she should also have submitted a full report to the tournament authorities.