Although the behavior of substitutes, players, and substituted players is clearly controlled by the Laws of the Game, the standards for team officials are less clear. Law 5 (The Referee) provides that team officials must conduct themselves in a "responsible manner" and, if they do not, the referee may "expel them from the field of play and its immediate surrounds." All actions by team officials which result in expulsion from the field must be identified as “irresponsible behavior” in the match report. The match report, of course, must provide a specific description of the behavior.
The following are examples of behavior that might be considered irresponsible:
- Throwing objects in protest
- Speaking insulting words or making offensive gestures
- Kicking chairs
- Making unwanted contact with opponents
- Persistently and flagrantly protesting decisions by an official
- Interfering with the performance of assistant referee or fourth official duties
- Refusing to return to the technical area
- Entering the field of play without the permission of the referee
Assistant referees and fourth officials assist the referee in monitoring the behavior of persons in the technical area and in alerting the referee when such behavior exceeds reasonable bounds. Officials should be mindful of the circumstances in which the irresponsible behavior occurred and should use the same criteria and concerns they would apply to similar behavior by players on the field (e.g., taking into account the emotion of the moment).
Date of USSF Memo: March 8, 2006
Advice when Dealing with Youth Referees
Coaches need to be mindful that in most youth games the game officials don't have a lot of experience, or even age. Many are in their early teens. Adolescents are not culturally conditioned to admonish adults and some adults are physically imposing. Often, their only way of dealing with an adult who exhibits impermissible behavior is to ignore it, sometimes repeatedly, until it reaches a breaking point. At that time the coach is gone. Without warning. -- Barry Sherry, PWSI Head Referee