I recently AR’ed a U10 game where a few parents on my side of the touchline constantly called into my attention about the assistant coach of the opponent standing on the other side constantly walking down the line close to the corner kick area of his team (where i can see him straight from where i’m standing) yelling out instructions to this players. Since the ball is in play, I didn’t signal the center ref about the issue and allow the game to continue.

The parents got really mad and starting shouting out that i should tell the center ref. Should i stop play in this case or just ignore the issue till the ball is not in play before informing the center ref? Also, if the coach still continue to do it after being warned, what is the best course of action?

USSF answer (September 22, 2009):
Under the Laws of the Game, generally aimed at top-level soccer, team officials are supposed to stay in their own “technical area.” Each team has its “technical area” on the same side of the field, separated by the halfway line. The competition in which you were the AR may have different rules about this. It is very common for local rules (where it is equally common for there not to be any technical areas) to require that no one (team officials or spectators) can be behind the goal lines or farther down the touchlines than the top of each penalty area. Furthermore, where it is needed for match control but the league or tournament has not marked them, USSF allows the referee to approximate a technical area within which substitutes and team officials must stay (and behave themselves).

You should not — and legally cannot — stop the game at any time for a matter this minor. However, you may signal the referee at the next stoppage and inform him or her of the situation, if it is indeed not permitted under the rules of the competition.

You should also pay little or no attention to the parents of either team. They, like coaches, will try to influence your decisions, so turn your ears to a position where you hear only what you need to hear during the game.

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