By Randy Vogt
Ages ago, I was assigned a men’s amateur cup match between two teams who had played one another in a league match the Sunday before. As the league game had just concluded, two players got into a fistfight and they were eventually separated but the ref did not take send off the players for violent conduct. Not surprisingly, that ref did not have a long career.
So, I was in the unenviable position of refereeing those same two teams and same two players, who would have been suspended if they had received a red card, the following Sunday. At the start of the match, one of the captains disagreed with one of my decisions so he cursed at me and I sent him off for abusive language. The game eventually settled down and we even played 30 minutes of overtime.
Perhaps the captain thought he could get away with cursing at me since the previous ref did not follow the rules and he probably thought that I would not do so either. Referees who do not follow the rules make it much harder for the other refs.
If you would like to play with that knee brace, then put on padding so that no hard edges are exposed. “But the other ref let me play without padding last week.”
You’re 6 foot tall and you’re wearing shinguards for a 12-year-old. Put on bigger shin guards so you can play. “But the other ref let me play last week.”
Your team is wearing navy blue shirts and your keeper wants to also wear a navy blue shirt with the only color difference being light blue polka dots in front. But I cannot see any color difference from the side or back of the keeper so he must change his shirt. “But the other refs have been letting him play in that jersey all season.”
I would like my colleagues to take the position if they would do anything different if they had to ref the same two teams the following week. Because other refs will be assigned those teams and their supervision of the match would become more difficult if the previous ref did not follow the rules.
I have been refereeing a futsal league since its inception nearly two decades ago and have noticed an interesting phenomenon. When I referee the same teams every week, the teams eventually adjust and the disciplinary issues settle down. Perhaps a few cards in the first month of the season but just about nothing after that.
When I take over refereeing a division from other refs, there are many more disciplinary issues the first few weeks after I take over. For example, I watched a boys U-18 team easily defeating another opponent before I refereed the next game. The winning team was very loud and I thought they were having fun at the expense of the other team.
Wouldn’t you know that I refereed the same team the next week and one of their players was sent off rather early in the game for abusive language? And when I refereed the team they had easily defeated a couple of weeks later, there was some ill will between teams, partly because the previous ref did not try and control their excessive comments.
(Randy Vogt has officiated over 8,000 games during the past three decades, from professional matches in front of thousands to 6-year-olds being cheered on by very enthusiastic parents. In his book, "Preventive Officiating," he shares his wisdom gleaned from thousands of games and hundreds of clinics to help referees not only survive but thrive on the soccer field. You can visit the book’s website at www.preventiveofficiating.com/)