RefSix

Identifying dissent

Gamespoiler

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
This season has been my first season at open age, covering both Saturday fixtures and a Sunday league. Previously I have only officiated junior football (still do).

I find it very easy to identify and deal with almost all dissent in junior football including U17/U18 matches. The difference at open age though appears to be huge with players constantly appealing and querying decisions and sarcastically voicing their opinions for all to hear if I haven't blown for what they perceive to be an offence. I know an appeal is not dissent but it borders dissent when the appeal carries on I feel.

If I addressed every single instance, the game would end up being abandoned as a team would soon have less than 7 players. I do at least 1 sin bin per open age game, sometimes 2, the most I've done in 1 game is 4.

I know sinbins are new, but dissent isn't.

So my question is to the seasoned ref's particularly at open age on how you identify this and if you have strategies to handle it as effectively as possible. I don't think I am if I'm honest and after reflecting after a game I can think of many times I could've (should've?) sinbinned someone. Maybe I just need to be a bit more ruthless and if it gets to the stage of less than 7 players then so be it. But I don't want to make the game about me which I feel I will do if I have a zero tolerance.

Any helpful advice greatly received.
 

Grayson

RefChat Addict
I’ve never bought into the “if you give one then you’ll end up giving XXX of them during the game” argument.

If by the third time a penalty is awarded for a defender holding at a corner, or a third player is sat down for 10 minutes then they STILL haven’t got the message, then that’s on them.

Some proper thoughts on dissent to follow, but has a lot to do with management, not allowing things to escalate (or rumble along) without taking action, and the right captain is often helpful. I’ll come back to this after sleep.
 

RobOda

RefChat Addict
Level 3 Referee
So my question is to the seasoned ref's particularly at open age on how you identify this and if you have strategies to handle it as effectively as possible. I don't think I am if I'm honest and after reflecting after a game I can think of many times I could've (should've?) sinbinned someone. Maybe I just need to be a bit more ruthless and if it gets to the stage of less than 7 players then so be it. But I don't want to make the game about me which I feel I will do if I have a zero tolerance.

I agree with Grayson, if you've sinbinned/cautioned for dissent a third or fourth time, most teams will wake up and knock it off, so don't be afraid to give the punishment.

However, I do wonder if you might have too wide a definition of dissent? Can you give an example of a dissent caution for appealing and/or querying?

In my opinion, appeals tend to be part of the game and I don't really pay much heed to them. I find if you are consistent in your fouls/handballs then appeals will cease as the game goes along, but you're always going to get major and perhaps excessive appeals if a match is played at a high temperature and there's a 50/50 flashpoint. If a player is excessively appealing then I would chat to them first. I've only had it happen once, an A/R flagged me because the goalkeeper was constantly appealing for offside and wouldn't shut up and it was putting him off. Once I explained that, yes appeals are fine, but you're winding up my assistant, he cut it out.

Querying is an easy one to solve. Simply don't be there to take the query. Give the foul and assuming you're not cautioning/sending off, get out of the area and move to your next position. Any player brave enough to intercept you at that point is an easy caution.

Snarky opinions or chatter amongst the players about your decision-making can be ignored to your benefit in some cases. It can be better for the players to whine to each other than it is for them to get into your face. If a player is frustrated and moaning to his teammate (or heaven forbid, the opposition) about your decision, I'd pay it no heed. I'd rather take them on if they get in my face or they push their luck going overboard complaining to me.

At adult football I think it is better to avoid looking for the potentially minor issues as you may end up over-refereeing the incidents, if that makes sense?

Having said all that, all referees have their own tolerance levels, if you feel you're being hit with dissent then sinbin/card them, usually the sooner you deal with it the better and if they're daft enough to go down to 7 players over it, more fool them.
 

afronaut81

Well-Known Member
Level 7 Referee
Dissent is a challenge to your authority so if anyone is clearly undermining you that's cautionable.

I'm struggling find this tolerance too (only done a few games). I think, like fouls, if you start the game with a low tolerance it sees you in better stead. If you begin too high then it'll be harder to regain control if the temperature of the game rises.
 

santa sangria

RefChat Addict
I was taught to focus on identifying and acting on the game’s first “dissent”.

I wrote “dissent” because by the LotG that’s already an offence... but what are talking about is match control and mgmt and how to stop whinging escalating.

Sometimes the first “dissent” is obviously an offence, like a GK running 50 yards to protest.

But what to do when a player, or players, complain too much early game in the first sign of “dissent”?
You have to act. And show everyone you are in control, not just communicate with a single player. So, a quick word on the run is probably not optimal to handle first dissent. An experienced ref with character might laugh it off or shout it off, but best advice is to get the player immediately or at the next stoppage and give them a short talking to - and maybe cut the grass. The big idea is that you take the focus and in talking to the player you are telling everyone you’ve reached your limit - you can even see that so more players can hear.

Of course context context but this kind of approach shows you are in control and makes it very easy to card next time.
 

Sheffields Finest

Maybe I'm foolish, maybe I'm blind!
Level 7 Referee
Easy, finger on lips, do the zipper motion and if they continue, do what needs to be done... you’ve warned them, treat them like school kids! Don’t get into an argument on law on every decision or else you’ve dug a hole for yourself!
 
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Big Cat

RefChat Addict
Level 6 Referee
My approach is to avoid discounting the player's opinion
"Yeh, maybe, not for me though, let's crack on"... that sorta thing. Rubbishing what they have to say leads to conflict
Don't say much in these exchanges, otherwise squabbles will prevail. Well timed wit can be magic, but that has to come naturally
Stepped approach if possible (not least because the observers are looking for it). Otherwise, like @santa sangria indicated, there'll probably only be a couple of problem players, so target them aggressively and the problem goes away
 
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Grayson

RefChat Addict
I thought I'd mentioned it in my post, but maybe I edited it out. There's also a time where you can choose not to hear or react to something minor, and/or prevent escalating or creating a situation by simply not hanging around to hear that left back go "for f*ck sake" like they will constantly throughout a game.

Give decision, go.
Give decision, manage players in vicinity if needed, go.
Give decision, go, look at that one gobby player with the that's-enough-look, and a sharp "that's enough fella", get on with it.

Post-match reflection regarding dissent is really valuable. Be honest with yourself when thinking about each incident of it. Why did the player say what they said? Was it the "natural" reaction to being penalised, or did you hang around and chirp up, or get into discussion about why you gave it, etc. Did the player persist in challenging your authority, and did you crack down on it at the first opportunity?

Great topic this. No right or wrong answers, just things to consider.
 

zarathustra

RefChat Addict
Level 6 Referee
Dissent is one of those things that can be difficult to get right.

On the one had in you're too strict and get hung up on everything a player says you'll soon end up with a lot of names on your book.

And on the other if you ignore it completely then you'll find that every decision will be questioned and you'll lose control of the match pretty quickly.

Personally i prefer to give the players enough rope to hang themselves and I will try and employ the stepped approach where possible.

However, I do come down hard on obvious dissent, i.e. a player screams at me from 25yds because he thinks his team should have a throw then he's in the book, same as a player who thinks they need to run half the length of the pitch to argue about a free kick.

Unfortunately it is one of those things that will take some time for you to get the hang of, but the more games you do the easier it will be to tell when you need to caution, and when a quiet word will suffice.
 

socal lurker

RefChat Addict
A useful training tidbit on dissent/OFFINABIS considers the three Ps--personal, provocative, public. It's not a magic formula, but each of the factors can be helpful to think about. The more extreme a particular factor is or the more factors present, the more likely a formal sanction is needed. But ultimately it comes down to a combination of personal tolerance, reading a particular game, and local expectations.
 

Sheffields Finest

Maybe I'm foolish, maybe I'm blind!
Level 7 Referee
I bit my lip in my final ever game ... but, one player knew that and gauded me all game. 92/93 minutes and I finally snapped and cost him a tenner! You may as well finish how you started in the league with plastic in the air!
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
I thought I'd mentioned it in my post, but maybe I edited it out. There's also a time where you can choose not to hear or react to something minor, and/or prevent escalating or creating a situation by simply not hanging around to hear that left back go "for f*ck sake" like they will constantly throughout a game.

Give decision, go.
Give decision, manage players in vicinity if needed, go.
Give decision, go, look at that one gobby player with the that's-enough-look, and a sharp "that's enough fella", get on with it.

Post-match reflection regarding dissent is really valuable. Be honest with yourself when thinking about each incident of it. Why did the player say what they said? Was it the "natural" reaction to being penalised, or did you hang around and chirp up, or get into discussion about why you gave it, etc. Did the player persist in challenging your authority, and did you crack down on it at the first opportunity?

Great topic this. No right or wrong answers, just things to consider.
This is good advice.
Did the same on Saturday just gone. After a goal I could see captain making his way over to me, I turned my back and jogged away to centre circle.
Captain had three choices, follow me, easy sin bin, scream at me from 30-40 yards, easy sin bin, or button it.
Thankfully for him he got the message I wasn't about to entertain a discussion on the previous passage of play.

I use this technique a lot, not so much running off in a different direction but moving away from any potential dissent. If they follow you, you are setting them up, makes it an easier sell
 

Gamespoiler

Active Member
Level 7 Referee
The moving away suggestion is very helpful, I will try to get that in my game, should I remember to change that is, it's so easy to do the same thing.

I think I have a low tolerance level but then think am I too strict and am I just being pedantic?

Appreciate the sharing of experience and wisdom.

Thanks everyone, appreciate the input
 

CanuckRef

Active Member
Level 3 Referee
The best suggestions I've seen so far are to move away from the area, to appropriately and publicly deal with the first instance of dissent-like behaviour, and to have selective hearing as you go through the game.
 

Justylove

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
This is good advice.
Did the same on Saturday just gone. After a goal I could see captain making his way over to me, I turned my back and jogged away to centre circle.
Captain had three choices, follow me, easy sin bin, scream at me from 30-40 yards, easy sin bin, or button it.
Thankfully for him he got the message I wasn't about to entertain a discussion on the previous passage of play.

I use this technique a lot, not so much running off in a different direction but moving away from any potential dissent. If they follow you, you are setting them up, makes it an easier sell
I think it's more critical to do this at supply league level, where the expectation is you manage the event a bit more than at grassroots.
 
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