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Area 11L (South Orange County)

Referee Abuse


  1. AYSO referees are volunteers charged with the responsibility to see that games are conducted safely and fairly, and in a manner that fosters the enjoyment of the game by the players, coaches and spectators.
  2. Individual abilities will vary, depending on their training, experience and personality. Regardless of their abilities, the referee is empowered by the Laws of the Game to control the match, enforce the Laws, and to take action against team officials who fail to conduct themselves in a responsible manner (Laws of The Game, Law 5). Please remember that the referee decides the facts of the game, regardless of any witness, photographic or video evidence to the contrary. For instance, if the referee states the ball crossed the line, for purposes of the game the ball did in fact cross the line, even if you can show a clear video that it did not. These and other judgment calls are not subject to review and cannot be contested through protest.
  3. Coaches are responsible for the behavior and conduct of their spectators. It is never acceptable to verbally abuse a referee or player. A coach/spectator may not, before, during or after a game, criticize or discuss with a referee his performance other than to thank or compliment the referee.
  4. If considered necessary, complaints, criticisms or recommendations concerning a referee's performance by a coach shall be directed to your Regional Referee Administrator, Division Coordinator, or Regional Commissioner. Please remember that for most things this person is your first line of communication. Parents who feel this need shall discuss the situation with their coach and allow them to communicate their concerns.
  5. While dissent, either by word or action with, and public criticism of a referee is never appropriate, abusive language or conduct directed toward a referee will not be tolerated. Abusive language can be, but not limited to, rude speech, critical language (including yelling) addressed to the referee, and expressing disapproval or blame.
  6. The Regional Referee Administrator, upon receipt of any reported abuse of a referee shall investigate the incident and deliver any reports to the Disciplinary Committee who shall recommend appropriate discipline. The Regional Commissioner shall take the recommendation of the disciplinary review into consideration.

Misconduct and Disciplinary Action

  1. The disciplinary action as recommended by the Disciplinary Committee, may include but is not limited to warnings, mentoring, single or multi-game suspensions, or a complete ban of all AYSO activities for either a determined time frame or in extreme cases a lifetime ban.
  2. A suspended person may not, during their suspension, attend any AYSO game or inter-region game. However, a suspended coach may attend team practices. Those affected by complete bans may not attend any AYSO function for the duration of the ban.
  3. The subject of any disciplinary action may request an appeal through AYSO's due process procedures. It is the responsibility of the party affected to request the appeal.
  4. These sanctions do not limit, prevent, or replace any voluntary or required report or referral of improper conduct, by any adult toward any child, to any law enforcement or child protection agency. In the State of California, assault on a sports official carries a mandatory jail sentence with the law designed to be considered as akin to assault on a police officer.

Special Consideration Concerning Youth Referees

Abuse of Youth Referees will NOT be Tolerated by AYSO

In the event that the misconduct by an adult is directed at a youth referee, AYSO will take a stronger stance and invoke stronger sanctions. It is not uncommon for at least an additional game suspension to be added on if the referee involved is a minor.

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AYSO Area 11L

24310 Moulton Parkway, Suite #O-214
Laguna Hills, California 92653

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