From: Warren Wright
I volunteer for asst referee duties in mini-soccer and am confused by an apparent anomaly in the rules. It relates to child welfare and possible mass confrontation issues.

If you enter a pitch without a referee’s permission you could be charged with misconduct – but if your help is needed, you are prevented from helping because of the fear of being charged with misconduct!

What is the correct answer for the following case study…?

“A tackle in a youth game results in a broken ankle. It was a fair tackle but an unfortunate accident. No foul is given. Play is stopped due to the injury.

The parent of the child whose leg is broken runs on the pitch and screams at the referee. The referee (aged 16) explains that the tackle was fair but that the boy fell awkwardly. The parent doesn’t accept this explanation and proceeds to shake the “tackler” by the shoulders and lets off a volley of expletives.

The referee goes to help the child but by now the adult is out of control and punches the referee to the floor”.

You are the assistant referee. Would you …..

a.) Instantly recognise a trigger issue. Follow procedure, intervene at the earliest possible moment to protect the child, prevent the referee from being punched and to help calm the situation down?

b.) Wait until after the child was shaken and the referee punched to satisfy yourself that help was needed?

c.) Do nothing. You are not allowed to enter the playing area unless instructed to do so by the referee. The fact that he/ she is a child and now incapable of sending or receiving a signal is irrelevant.

USSF answer (April 17, 2011):
The club linesman (CL), which is what you are in this situation, has absolutely no authority to do anything but indicate that the ball has passed out of play. However, any decent person acting as CL will recognize that only trouble can occur if any unauthorized person enters the field without the permission of the referee The CL would be within his rights to do whatever was necessary to protect the players or the referee from injury by an outside person who has invaded the pitch. We hesitate to give any specifics here, as local laws on such things vary.