I was the Referee for a U-17 F Premier game this weekend. I made a call for a corner kick on the same side as AR1 but on the far end of his side ( he was a good 60-70 yards away ). I was on top of the play and only 15 yards or so from the corner flag. AR1 raised his flag and proceeded to tell me that the call should be for a goal kick. I didn’t concur. However, the AR1 has quite a bit of officiating experience (many more years than me) and holds a prominent and longstanding position with our local association, but I have been playing for all my life with NCAA Division 1 playing experience, Nationally licensed coaching experience at a high level and, what I believe, excellent judgment as a referee.
I changed my decision and awarded a goal kick. I immediately regretted that and the coaches began to harass me about the change. At the conclusion of the game, the AR1 said we did the right thing by making sure the call was the right call. I didn’t argue but felt that my initial call was the right call.
What is your suggestion on how I should have handled this situation?
USSF answer (September 15, 2008):
As the referee, you are in charge of the team of officials. It means little that the AR may have considerable experience and makes even less difference that he holds office in your local association. The AR’s job is to give you the best information he or she can, but to remember that the final decision is yours. Your job is to make that decision and stick with it.
If you feel you were pressured into taking the AR’s information as the ultimate word, then you might consider taking appropriate measures. No one should use his or her political position to gain his or her way — or do we learn about doing that sort of thing from the professional politicians?