Offensive & Abusive Language toward referees.

The use of foul and abusive language in any form is disgusting and unnecessary.

When this verbal diarrhoea is directed at authority and especially referees and their assistants, it is even more despicable.

It’s an affront to authority and is a clear and blatant attempt to intimidate the referee in his decision making.

Law 12 (FOULS AND MISCONDUCT) of the FIFA Laws of the Game (LOTG) states quite clearly and I quote:

“a player, substitute or substituted player is sent off if he commits any of the following seven offences:

  • Serious foul play
  • Violent conduct
  • Spitting at an opponent or any other person
  • Denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)
  • Denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity to an opponent moving towards the player’s goal by an offence punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick
  • Using offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures
  • Receiving a second caution in the same match.”

I’ve deliberately used bold and italics to make the point of this blog.

here have been many instances in the past, and they will continue so long as we referees allow it to happen.

It is clear and plain for all to see. One wouldn’t need to be an expert lip reader to interpret what is said.

The message is clear. The intention is deliberate. The result is, I’m afraid to say, very predictable.

As mentioned above “offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures” is punishable by a red card. Yes, I said red card.

Far too often, players are getting away with a patronising metaphorical slap on the wrist. In other words – no sanction at all.

Now this is where I have a major problem with those [soft] match officials:

They are not doing their job.

They are not being consistent in applying the Laws of the Game.

It appears there are certain laws for some players and teams and other laws for other teams and players.

In other words – double standards, and this is wrong, very wrong.

Is it any wonder that referees are constantly under attack from all and sundry?

Is it any wonder that there is little respect for match officials today?
Is it any wonder that we are treated with contempt by players, coaches, and the general public at large?

We bring it on ourselves.

We invite criticism because of our inaction to deal with unruly, overpaid, over-rated prima donnas who think that they are above the law and that we are there to be the release valve of their frustration.

Worst of all, we stand there and take it, and that is totally unacceptable.

So much for the FIFA “FAIR PLAY” and UEFA “RESPECT” campaigns.

I have a simple philosophy that I live by:

If you look for nonsense you’ll get it – if you take it you deserve it.

Happy Whistling!

About the author: Dr Errol Sweeney (PhD) BBA Dip.PM, aka “The Hanging Judge,” is a former L.o.I and SA Premier League Referee, World Cup Referee & Assistant Referee Coach & Mentor. He coached/mentored a referee to 2 World Cups, Olympic Games, Confederations Cup, 2 U/17 FIFA World Cups and 4 African Nations Cups.

Categories: General

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