Wednesday, September 16, 2009

the crux of the matter

Note: Make sure you read the first posting in this blog first for full value. Scroll down or click on 'Red Card For Swearing' in the blog archive on the left.

This post is about Discretion.

At the start of the season, all referees need to take a refresher course or attend a meeting. Supposedly, one of the topics was 'crackdown on bad language'. Usually this topic, along with many others, is mentioned at the start of every year.

This all seems to be caused by a misinterpretation by at least one of the referees that the 'crackdown on bad language' meant: immediate red card for any bad language on the field and the referee has no discretion.

That last word, 'Discretion', is the crux of the matter. Usually a referee has discretion in most calls he makes. Was the slide tackle aggressive (warning), dangerous (yellow), or reckless (red).

Typically Law 12 (offensive, insulting and abusive language) is applied with a fair bit of discretion.

In this case, the referee claims he was given direction from the Referree-In-Chief that there was to be no referee discretion with regards to Law 12. Any offensive, insulting or abusive language was an immediate red card. The referee did not need to think.

This is probably why no other teams (as far as we know) that weekend were officiated this way, and why our team, which had not had a red card in 5 years of league play, got three in one game.

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