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Handling Disruptions

Dealing firmly with a disruptive situation is important for keeping a game under controls. If you are a younger official, it is easy to be intimidated by adults on the field. But you should feel free to assert yourself in a polite and courteous manner, if you feel the behavior at the field by coaches or by parents is unsportsmanlike.

If parents become unruly, do not be afraid to stop the game and ask both coaches to speak to their parents. Coaches are responsible for the behavior of their parents and are accountable. Should either coach not "claim" an unruly spectator, ask them to deal with the situation jointly. If they refuse, you are not obligated to continue the match. If a match is stopped because of a parent, you must file a report with the CJSA.

If a coach becomes unruly, ask the coach (quietly) to control himself or herself. This is the equivalent of a caution (yellow card), which under USSF rules, may not be given to coaches. If the behavior continues, ask the coach to leave the field and do not restart the game until the coach has departed. This is the equivalent of an ejection (red card), which you may not give to a coach. Any unruly conduct by a coach must be reported to the CJSA, regardless of whether that coach was sent off the field.

Ask, Tell, Remove.
The following process is recommended by US Soceer  for all officials to follow relative to conduct within the technical area. Where circumstances permit, you should use a “gentle escalate” approach so that referee team responses match the nature of the bench behavior. Try to use the least intrusive response that will solve the
  • Ask - If a situation arises where there is irresponsible behavior, you are to ASK the person(s) to stop.
  • Tell - If there is another occurrence where there is irresponsible behavior, you are to inform that person that the behavior is not permissible and TELL them (insist) to stop.
  • Remove - If the non-accepted actions continue, you must REMOVE that person immediately.
Review the US Soccer directive on Managing the Technical Area.