While the center Ref was setting up for a free kick and trying to control arguing players on the field after a red card was issued, I was the AR and dealing with the entire side lines as a result from the red card. I had tried to get the center Refs attention because the coach was approaching me in a manor that was fairly threatening and due to the overwhelming number of participants I couldn’t help but feel a bit unsafe. As I tried to explain my point of view to the coach he continued to scream over my explanation at the top of his lungs and plowed towards me on several occasions while several of the other assitant coaches literally held him back. During this time I was trying to signal to the Center Ref that it was time for this coach to be ejected. As I continued signaling, the Center was still preparing to set up the free kick from the red card. As the coaches and players were moving away from me on my side line I continued to demand that everyone was to clear my side of the halfline in an attempt to control the situation from getting further out of hand. At this time I stepped on to the pitch, rolled up my flag and held it between my legs with my hand patting my pocket. The Center Ref was still not responding, I started to yell his name and whistle out loud as I was a bit frustrated that he wasn’t hearing me. This all happened during an approximate window of about 70- 75 secs. During this time I realized I was out of luck in getting his attention and found my self well out of position to judge the free kick at the goal line. Even some of the players which were on the field had been distracted by the commotion from the side lines coach. The Center Ref blew his whistle and the free kick was taken, a goal was scored. The Center Ref then responded to what was going on and met me midway on the field. He had asked me what happened and I said that the coach was acting out in a threatening manor towards me and asked if he could take him out of the game, he did, issuing a red card (coach was ejected). Then he asked if I was on the field during the kick, I told him yes, he asked me what I thought about the goal, if it should stand or not. I then gave my opinion but left it up to him to decide.

Since I was on the field near the 40 yard line and not in a position to clarify that the keeper had not been fouled or distracted in any way during the free kick, I didn’t feel it would be fair to the defending players being that the players on the field may have been distracted by their coaches actions on the side lines”. Of course, I did realize I was in a bad position and that I should have waited before stepping on to the field, but under the circumstances at the time of the incident and the way it played out, I was sort of reacting to feeling threatened and needed help in dealing with a very hostile situation. I’ve reffed more then a few soccer matches over the past 6 years up to this game and I have dealt with a good share of yelling, complaining and such but this was not something that any ref should have to deal with. My feeling was to withdraw my self from the game or deal with it in the best way I could at the time.

Over all, the Center Ref made the final call in re-doing the free kick and denying the goal.

USSF answer (October 2, 2009):
First of all, your safety is paramount — certainly more important that any restart — and so you should have immediately moved into the field right up to the referee to make him aware of the threats against a member of the officiating team. Second, no referee should be so focused on what is going on in his immediate area that he is oblivious to near riotous uproars taking place along the sideline centered around one of the members of his officiating team. Third, what was the other AR doing in all this, picking daisies?

What happened with the free kick was, is, and will always be irrelevant to (a) the occurrence of general disorder and/or (b) danger directed at an official.

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