Ref4Me

Do we accept a confession of guilt?

Trip

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
Yellow vs red, yellow corner. I'm watching for a short corner and before it's taken off to my left I hear two 'slaps' in quick succession, I turn and find two players squaring up.

Whistle, run over. I pull both players over for a chat. I haven't actually seen an offence with the possible exception of USB for adopting an aggressive attitude.

Red forward says, unprompted, "I did hit him, but only because he hit me."

I'll tell you what I did after you tell me what you would do :)
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
If you haven't seen it there isn't a lot you can do, especially as only one player has admitted hitting the other. I'd just be saying something like "look lads, I know something happened here but I didn't see it so you have got away with it. I won't miss it next time though so be careful".
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
I'd look at each case differently. In your case, the way you explained it, I'd prob agree with Rusty.

But if I turn around to a player on the ground and blood running out his nose, a mas con and the opponent says I punched his face because he swore at me, he is unlikely to stay on the field.
 

SW20

Member
Level 7 Referee
If you haven't seen it there isn't a lot you can do, especially as only one player has admitted hitting the other. I'd just be saying something like "look lads, I know something happened here but I didn't see it so you have got away with it. I won't miss it next time though so be careful".

Fully agree with this, adding that I would caution if what I had personally seen amounted to unsporting behaviour but as Rusty says, you can't send anybody off when you haven't witnessed any such offence yourself. It's rare but these sort of things are inevitable from time to time when you're on your own and without qualified assistants.
 

SW20

Member
Level 7 Referee
I'd look at each case differently. In your case, the way you explained it, I'd prob agree with Rusty.

But if I turn around to a player on the ground and blood running out his nose, a mas con and the opponent says I punched his face because he swore at me, he is unlikely to stay on the field.

If you took that player at his word though, then wouldn't you also have to send the player off who got punched for foul and abusive language too? It would be difficult to take 50% of his statement as fact but then not act on the other part. Surely that could also cause issues when you personally hadn't seen or heard any such offence.

I recall being told when I first qualified, a fair few years ago that you can only give what you see (or hear I suppose) and that if you don't see it, you can't give it. So I'd probably be looking to err on the side of caution in this sort of incident but perhaps there are better approaches out there that people have used on here to manage such situations. Be interesting to hear.
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
It would be difficult to take 50% of his statement as fact but then not act on the other part.
Not necessarily. This works the same for laws of the land. Many people try to justify their wrong by lying. For example a court accepts admission of murder but giving self defence as reason is not accepted unless proven.

In my case if the bloody nose guy admits to saying something offensive, I'd prob send him off too.

This is all hypothetical and as I said I'd have to be there and the context of the match matters too (eg priors etc.). The point is, if you haven't seen it, don't give it is good advice but don't take it as gospel.
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
If you haven't seen it and it is appealed it 99.99999999% going to be thrown out.

First question from panel "please tell us what you saw? "

Over and out
 

Redster

Member
I would agree with One. Where you have a specific admission which would clearly only result in a red if seen, then go red.
The OP is not so specific as to exclude the possibility that yellow is appropriate and so I would stay yellow.

Generally, though, if I've not seen an incident and I'm bringing players up for a chat, I will warn them that I didn't see the incident and it would be better for them to say nothing.
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Shoudn't really referee based on preempting what an appeal committee does. I am hoping we can all agree on that.
No. The point is the appeal committee would be right as you would be wrong to dismiss someone for something you or a colleague (AR/Ref/4o) haven't seen/heard.
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
Shoudn't really referee based on preempting what an appeal committee does. I am hoping we can all agree on that.

Agree, but equally you shouldn't be making decisions that are likely to bring your professionalism into account. Sitting in front of a panel and admitting that you sent a player off for VC without actually having seen it isn't a good position to be in, and could even result in a charge for failing to proficiently apply the laws of the game.
 

Redster

Member
Consider the following scene: Player A is laying on the floor gushing blood from the nose. Player B is near player A shouting at him. You call Player B over to have a word. He storms up to you and says loud enough for many others to hear "I know I should not have punched Player A three times in the nose, but he called me a ninny."

Who would not send Player B from the field? It is a clear, unequivocal statement against his interest and should be believed. There is not only the admission, but useful circumstantial evidence backing the admission. There could be no doubt the Player B committed an act of violent conduct on Player A.

I would also not be lying in my send off report and, further, I would expect the send off to be upheld.
 

Jtpetherick1

Well-Known Member
Level 4 Referee
Consider the following scene: Player A is laying on the floor gushing blood from the nose. Player B is near player A shouting at him. You call Player B over to have a word. He storms up to you and says loud enough for many others to hear "I know I should not have punched Player A three times in the nose, but he called me a ninny."

Who would not send Player B from the field? It is a clear, unequivocal statement against his interest and should be believed. There is not only the admission, but useful circumstantial evidence backing the admission. There could be no doubt the Player B committed an act of violent conduct on Player A.

I would also not be lying in my send off report and, further, I would expect the send off to be upheld.
What if rather than ‘ninny’ it was something racist - are you willing to send one player off and not the other?
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
We have judges juries convict on unseen events. Those convictions are based on laws applied a lot stricter than how we judge in football. I don't see how I could be wrong in my judgement here or my professionalism being questioned. It's not guess work, it based on solid evidence and admission of guilt. If it was based on guess work then I'm with you. And there is nothing in laws against it.

Again, it won't be everyday that I would send someone off for something I have not seen. How appeal committees work and their criteria (different to mine) is not my concern.

What if rather than ‘ninny’ it was something racist - are you willing to send one player off and not the other?
No. There is a huge difference in sending someone off based on own admission and physical evidence, compared to sending someone off based on someone else's accusations.
 

QuaverRef

I used to be indecisive but now i'm not so sure
Level 6 Referee
I wouldn’t be sending them off. remember, hitting somebody isn’t always a red if it wasn’t excessive force or brutality. They may well have hit them, but that could be simply be a dig in the arm for all we know. If they appeal, you’ve nowhere to go

it’s also worth mentioning that even though it’s an admission of guilt, he’s accusing somebody of doing the same. You cannot send somebody off because an opposition player told you. Safe option is to thank him for their honesty but stick to your original decision
 

NOVARef

New Member
Level 8 Referee
My question matches the topic but quite a bit different than what has been discussed. Recently, I had a situation where the ball crossed the goal line and I didn't see clearly who touched it last. My AR gave me a blank stare. I signaled for a goal kick and the defender said..."I touched it last ref. It should be a corner." Do you change your call immediately? Do you jog over and talk with the AR to make it seem like it was our call and not the kid's call? Something else? Thanks
 

Jorik0907

Active Member
My question matches the topic but quite a bit different than what has been discussed. Recently, I had a situation where the ball crossed the goal line and I didn't see clearly who touched it last. My AR gave me a blank stare. I signaled for a goal kick and the defender said..."I touched it last ref. It should be a corner." Do you change your call immediately? Do you jog over and talk with the AR to make it seem like it was our call and not the kid's call? Something else? Thanks
Yeah, I'd probably do so if the GK is not close to being taken. If it is, I'd thank him for his honesty but stick with the call I'd made and keep the game going
 

one

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
My question matches the topic but quite a bit different than what has been discussed. Recently, I had a situation where the ball crossed the goal line and I didn't see clearly who touched it last. My AR gave me a blank stare. I signaled for a goal kick and the defender said..."I touched it last ref. It should be a corner." Do you change your call immediately? Do you jog over and talk with the AR to make it seem like it was our call and not the kid's call? Something else? Thanks
I just say "thanks mate" and point to the corner. We don't see everything so no point pretending we do.

Pick your time for these as there are times you have to sell your decision one way or other without any help from players and showing any doubt would make it much harder and could lead to loss of match control.

Another case is when I am reasonably certain of my decision (say goal kick) but the defender says I touched it last (prob because he didn't see the attacker touched it after him). Again I thank him but say I saw it as a goal kick so let's stick with it but I am more than happy if you want to kick it out for a corner straight from the goal kick.

So as a summary, keep your credibility, respect and game control without showing arrogance and over confidence. That means sometimes you change your decision sometimes you don't. You have to judge every situation on its merits.
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
I had one a few years ago. Gobby striker, who knew just how to keep on the right side of the dissent line.

Him and the goalkeeper challenged for a ball and he went down. I saw it as the GK had got the ball cleanly and gave a corner.

Striker was unhappy (as he'd been all game), and told me that it was either a penalty or a goal kick.

I made a big show of changing the decision to a goal kick and very publicly thanking him for his honesty and sportsmanship. 🤣
 

PinnerPaul

RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
No! A top referee recently said on an RA session that this had happened to him. Team wanted real culprit (the captain) to stay on the pitch so another player 'owned up' for him.

Video evidence told him (the ref) that he was duped!
 
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