Last update October 10, 1999
There is the story of the Referee who was setting a wall on a Free Kick. Four defenders lined up much closer than the Referee indicated. He tried to move them back, but they wouldn't budge.
So, he very theatrically called over the first player in the wall, reached for his yellow card and displayed it for all to see. He then looked down and slowly booked the player, giving his teammates ample time to disperse.
When the Ref looked up again, the other three players were still in position!
So, he very theatrically and slowly booked the second player in line.
You got it. Again, no one moved.
He eventually booked all four players. (Sometimes, they just beg for it.)
As a general rule, Referees should not be seen openly pacing off ten yards. They should "know" the proper distance, be consistent with it, and sell it to the players.
A friend of mine sets his ten yards by sprinting to the point where he wants the wall set. If he is then remonstrated by the players ("That's not ten yards, Ref."), he has an interesting way of "selling" his ten.
If the defenders complain, he says, "You know, you're right. That's not ten yards." He then increases the distance and tells them, "That's ten yards."
If the attackers complain, he uses the same words, but shortens the distance.
He tells me he has never had to do this more than once each way before the complaints stop and the players "buy" his ten for the rest of the game.
Al Kleinaitis tells a story on himself. He was refereeing in the old NASL when a player - tired of being heckled by the crowd - trotted to the touchline during a stoppage and mooned the stands.
Al immediately issued a send off (well, it was still an ejection then).
And the NASL overturned it on appeal.
The reason? Al had issued the card for "Serious Foul Play." The NASL said that, since the player had mooned the fans, it should have been "Violent Conduct."
I was running line for a friend of mine when one of the players delivered a dangerous tackle, almost knee-capping his opponent. My friend didn't hesitate in showing him the red card. The player and my friend exchanged a few quiet words, and then my friend began to laugh out loud!
At the end of the match, he told me why.
The player asked my friend why he was being sent off.
"Because you committed Serious Foul Play."
"That tackle was Serious Foul Play?"
"Yes, and you're being sent off for it."
"Well, in that case, you're a (several choice expletives deleted), too."
"I'd already sent him off," my friend continued. "All I could do was laugh."
A friend of mine had gone out of town for a tournament. On the first day, he and four other referees suited up and went to McDonald's for breakfast. As they were leaving, the young man behind the counter -recognizing they were wearing some type of sports uniform - wished them luck, saying, "I hope your team wins."
My friend stopped, thought a moment, and replied somberly, "Our team always wins."
If you don't believe that good teams can communicate effectively without saying a word, try this.
"I was working matches at the Dallas Cup. For a U19 boys match, I was AR to a Chinese referee who spoke no English. The players quickly caught on to this, and tried to take advantage.
"One player muttered a disparaging remark in front of me. I warned the player not to repeat it or I would have the referee caution him. The player dared me to try.
"I popped my flag to get the referee's attention. I motioned the referee over to me and pointed to the player. I then tapped my breast pocket, indicating I felt a card was needed.
The referee pulled a red card just slightly out of his pocket. I shook my head, "No." The referee then pulled a yellow card out and cautioned the player."
(And all without one word being said between them!)
Several years back, a referee in North Texas had just been upgraded to FIFA Referee. He had received his new badge in the mail and was waiting for a chance to wear it.
He got his chance, but not the one he expected. A local assignor called early Saturday morning, asking him to do a U10B match that had lost its referee.
Realizing that no game is beneath any referee, he agreed to do it and went to the field, FIFA badge proudly in place.
After the match, a mother approached him and began criticizing his officiating. He had missed this, called that wrong, miscalled something else. In the middle of her diatribe she paused, looked at his FIFA badge, and nodded with sudden realization.
"No wonder you're not any good," she said. "You don't even wear the same patch as our regular referees!"
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