I have two questions:
1. I whistled once at a poor call by a referee. A simple whistle. No words were spoken. At the half, the referee came over to the entire group of parents on our side of the field and said if he heard a whistle again, he would throw all of the parents out of the game. Is this permissible/legal under the rules? The whistle did not sound anything like the referee’s whistle.
2. A player on the opposing team was purposely hurting my son and others on our team by spiking them and knocking them off of their feet to the ground with his shoulder. The coach seemed to be encouraging this and the referee would do nothing about it. If I video this behavior taking place, who can I report it to? I was seriously concerned that my son was going to be hurt. He was 12 years old playing on a varsity team with 17 and 18 year olds. Our coach would do nothing, the opposing coach did nothing and the referees did nothing.
What should I have done?
USSF answer (January 3, 2012):
First of all, we are not authorized to answer questions involving high school rules. That is the job of a high school rules interpreter. We answer only questions based on the Laws of the Game, the rules the world plays by.
1. If this game had been played under the Laws of the Game (and not including any special rules of the particular competition), then the answer is no, the referee cannot clear the spectators out of the area of the field. That does not mean that spectators at a soccer match are allowed and enabled to harass the officials. A referee can require proper behavior from the sidelines if it is interfering with his/her authority and/or affecting play unfairly. If proper behavior does not occur, the referee can suspend or terminate the match (after taking appropriate measures to have team officials or competition authority representatives resolve the issue before having to take such stringent measures).
2. There is no such foul as “spiking,” so we are uncertain what you mean. A player is allowed to charge his opponents fairly — generally shoulder to shoulder, with both players having at least one foot on the ground and without using excessive force. The use of excessive force (in the opinion of the referee) should result in the sending-off of the guilty player, but that decision is up to the referee, not the parents or other spectators. A younger player and his parents take their chances when the youngster plays with teammates and opponents who are much larger and stronger. The referee will certainly give the smaller player as much protection as the other players, but he is not entitled to special consideration. It would seem that the referee and the coaches knew what they were doing.
As to “reporting” player behavior, if the referee and both coaches were not concerned, it would seem unlikely that the competition authority (the league, etc.) would act.