This past weekend I was working a local youth tournament and I have two questions from two different games.

First, while I was on “stand-by” in the referee tent during my 3 hour break, my assignor showed up in a golf cart and took me to a field where we found a young upset female ref and the tournament director at a U-10 game. My assignor told me to finish the last 18 minutes of the game and took the previous ref. After talking to both coaches, I found that an assistant of one team (who’s club was hosting the tournament) had been sent-off after arguing numerous calls. I told the head coach of that team that the previous referee’s decision stands and the coach needs to leave. The tournament director then came on to the field and said that he had “overruled” the ref and had asked for a new one, which is what brought the other official to tears. I told him 1 you can’t replace a ref in the middle of a match and more importantly the referee has sole jurisdiction over the match and cannot be “overruled” after a long discussion which included us reading out of the laws of the game, the ejected coach was allowed to sit away from the players and fans but allowed to stay on site. My question is what should a referee do when a tournament director “overrules” you, even in the middle of the match as this one did? Even though referees know this can’t happen the director seemed to think he had the power to do so.

Secondly, in a u-15 Boys game, a “green” player was fouled carelessly about 4 yards from the top of the penalty area, I awarded the free kick, clearly spotted the foul and cautioned the player who fouled him. With time winding down, the “green” coach began to argue that the card should have been red since the offending player had done it “four or five times.” I told him that he was given a yellow for persistent infringement. I turned around, allowed the kicker to take the kick, and he scored. Next, my AR ran up to me and said the player had moved the ball 2 yards closer to the goal before taking the kick while my back was turned. While my AR should gave told me before the kick, what should I have done with the information? I cautioned the player for unsporting conduct and re-took the kick (was saved on re-take). Did I make the right call? Thanks.

USSF answer (July 23, 2011):
1. First, a rule of thumb known only to tournament directors and those of us who have been around for a very long time: If the tournament director says something is so, then he or she is surely right, even when he or she is blatantly and incredibly wrong. Second, always read and be aware of the competition’s rules when you accept an assignment; the director might actually have that power and, if you accepted the assignment, you acknowledge that you accept the rules of the competition. Third, yes, you were absolutely correct. Fourth, mark the tournament in your mind and alert your colleagues and local referee association that this particular event allows such travesties to occur and you cannot in good conscience recommend taking assignments to its games.

2. More rules: (a) Make a decision and stick to it, unless you recognize you truly were in error. (b) Do not allow yourself to be distracted by outside influences with no authority over any aspect of your game, also known as coaches, at a free kick or at any other time. (c) Always know where the ball is. (d) When you have been distracted by an outside influence, check with your assistant referees to be sure nothing has happened during the distraction. (e) Remember rules (a) and (b). Yes, you made the correct call.