Player drug use


I used to be indecisive but now i'm not so sure
Level 5 Referee
I went and watched a local game on Saturday as a few mates were playing for them. Chatting to them, they mentioned that there was a rather strong smell of weed from the away changing room. I went back over with them and could smell it as well from outside.

This brought the following question to my mind ... Had you have been the referee on that day, what would you have done? I didn't see anyone actually smoking it but the strong smell definitely suggested that it had happened not long before they started getting changed.

EDIT: I should probably add that the referee was club assigned due to lack of availability before I get slated for not mentioning it to the referee

Ciley Myrus

RefChat Addict
Probably treat it the same as booze for me....if you suspect someone has been on it, and they potentially a concern to you, opponents, themselves, then you have every right to refuse them permission to continue to play, on safety grounds.

If me, i think I would be as sure as I could blue 6 was intoxicated/high
First stoppage or chance I got, I would prob go to coach and make my concerns known, by this point am already clear in my head that the player cant continue.
I would advise that a substitution might be the best course of action and by this stage firmly but politely make it known I am not willing to continue the game with blue 6 on the park
Its a big call so I would need to be as sure as I could in my mind but once I was sure, that's it, he is off, or I am
Safety over rides any spirit of game etc when it comes to something like this.

No committee etc is going to support anything other than zero tolerance on a drug issue, and on off chance blue 6 was only in the presence of folk doing it, its his responsiblity to remove himself from that environment and nullify any suspicions
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Sheffields Finest

Maybe I'm foolish, maybe I'm blind!
Level 7 Referee
If they can stand and string a few words or grunts together when asked I'm doing nothing........
There is a strong rumour that Beverley’s Finest has bought a bike, surely that needs some chemical enhancement? No batteries either.... He’s like East Yorkshires Benjamin Button!


RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
I have had a similar incident in one of my games. Actually lead to me finding this site and the subject of my first thread.
In my game it could be smelt around the dugout area but I did not see anybody smoking it. I gave the manager a stern talking too and then reported it to county and the league.
If I could be certain a player was under the influence then he would be taking no part in the game and I would report it to the authorities

Sheffields Finest

Maybe I'm foolish, maybe I'm blind!
Level 7 Referee
Struggling to think how you would ascertain someone was unfit to play, it’s took our Plods years to come up with something that’s workable in driving so what chance have you.

Last time I looked Wacky Backy made you sleep not Ronaldo!

Sheffields Finest

Maybe I'm foolish, maybe I'm blind!
Level 7 Referee
That's 99% of the Sunday league players with or without intoxication...
A story that’s emerged this week from Chris Wilder (sufc), in his first managerial role for Bradway FC Sunday League team he would be picking players up from nightclubs to take them home for sleep for important games in the Meadowhall League. The joys of managing fuelled up Sunday League footballers
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RefChat Addict
Level 3 Referee
Unless I see it I'm reluctant to investigate it.

Had one team turn up reeking of weed, but no evidence as to who was smoking it and no one looked under the influence any more than the usual lads that turn up on a Saturday.

Friends confirmed there was more weed smell coming from the benches, so possibly one of the entourage was smoking it. Maybe I should ask in the future?


Active Member
Imagine accusing someone of smoking it and it turns out they haven't had a shower.. unless I physically see someone on the teamline using then they can do what they like I wouldn't go digging (especially not if yourself)


RefChat Addict
Level 7 Referee
My competition rules (and local laws of the land) ban smoking and drinking in local sporting parks. As a referee, if I smell it I will report it. The reason is simple, if a team/player does it frequently then they know how to hide it. If never reported, they get away with it. If reported by different referees on several occasions, then the comp organisers can take action (or choose not to but it's their choice).

If seen, then it's a definite report. However if they play or not is dependent on my (referee's) assessment of their coordination, movement and if it is a safety risk to themselves or others. No different to if they were heavily under the influence when they turned up to the ground. You have a duty of care to all players and should be able to assess safety risks, be it ground, equipment or people.


New Member
It's just become legal here in Canada, a few leagues have sent directives on the upcoming season regarding spectator consumption, but nothing in there about the players.

Be interesting to see if the post match cans in the car park extends to this as well!