RefSix

Players smoking Cannabis

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Ok.. 1st post :) situation today in a game where i suspected substitutes to be smoking cannabis. Very strong smell coming from their side of the pitch and they had no spectators. Unfortunately i wasnt able to identify the culprit. I waited a short while to try and spot the player but i wasnt able to. I made a point of approaching the manager explaining i could smell cannabis strongly at their side of the pitch and if it was his players he needed to ensure it was stopped immediately. I will be reporting it to league and county but any advice on managing this situation if ot occurs again in future??
 

Brian Hamilton

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Observer/Tutor
Ok.. 1st post :) situation today in a game where i suspected substitutes to be smoking cannabis. Very strong smell coming from their side of the pitch and they had no spectators. Unfortunately i wasnt able to identify the culprit. I waited a short while to try and spot the player but i wasnt able to. I made a point of approaching the manager explaining i could smell cannabis strongly at their side of the pitch and if it was his players he needed to ensure it was stopped immediately. I will be reporting it to league and county but any advice on managing this situation if ot occurs again in future??
Are you a policeman? If not, what does it say in the competition rules?
 

mikedn

Referee/Mentor
Ok.. 1st post :) situation today in a game where i suspected substitutes to be smoking cannabis. Very strong smell coming from their side of the pitch and they had no spectators. Unfortunately i wasnt able to identify the culprit. I waited a short while to try and spot the player but i wasnt able to. I made a point of approaching the manager explaining i could smell cannabis strongly at their side of the pitch and if it was his players he needed to ensure it was stopped immediately. I will be reporting it to league and county but any advice on managing this situation if ot occurs again in future??
If it was 2 or more players i would not allow the game to k.o. and report to league and county, if it was an individual smoking it i would not allow him to play,
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Not a policeman. I honestly dont think there is any guidance in conpetition rules but I will double check. The game had already started and in the middle of the second half i was unable to dovert enough attention from the green stuff tonidentify the player. Interestingly the manager never denied the use of cannabis which will be in my report.
 

mikedn

Referee/Mentor
Not a policeman. I honestly dont think there is any guidance in conpetition rules but I will double check. The game had already started and in the middle of the second half i was unable to dovert enough attention from the green stuff tonidentify the player. Interestingly the manager never denied the use of cannabis which will be in my report.
Think you would have to actually catch them smoking it to justify any action
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
So are you saying I shouldnt report it? One thing I can be certain of is someone was using cannabis within the vecinity of their dug out.
 

Brian Hamilton

RefChat Addict
Level 5 Referee
Observer/Tutor
under the influence of an illegal substance... did have an instance couple of seasons ago and wouldn't let 2 players take part in a game, and my then FA said i was correct
What about if it had been a legal substance?
 

mikedn

Referee/Mentor
So are you saying I shouldnt report it? One thing I can be certain of is someone was using cannabis within the vecinity of their dug out.
You could report it, but what action could they take? if they could not identify any individual...... maybe issue a warning to the team... ????
 

JamesL

RefChat Addict
Level 4 Referee
Well at the very least the club should be warned. Its the main reason for my post is how do I handle this in future if it happens again?

Do I stop the game? March over and say right lads let me see who's smoking what... theres an argument to say unless i confiscate the cannabis cigarette, inspect the contents i can never be certain they were smoking it full stop. So what action could they take?

What if two people are smoking, 1 a normal cigarette and the other a cannabis cigarette but i only see the person smoking a cigarette?

In terms of action surely there is an argument for failure to control player behaviour that the club must answer?

There are various permutations to consider, Im interested to see how as a referee, middle of a game, would handle suspected drug use on the sidelines
 

mikedn

Referee/Mentor
Well at the very least the club should be warned. Its the main reason for my post is how do I handle this in future if it happens again?

Do I stop the game? March over and say right lads let me see who's smoking what... theres an argument to say unless i confiscate the cannabis cigarette, inspect the contents i can never be certain they were smoking it full stop. So what action could they take?
Bit over the top IMO to march over and ask to see who smoking what, don't think it would come under the juristiction of the referee.... May be a good idea to contact your local FA and ask them to clarify what actions would/could be taken by a referee........

What if two people are smoking, 1 a normal cigarette and the other a cannabis cigarette but i only see the person smoking a cigarette?

In terms of action surely there is an argument for failure to control player behaviour that the club must answer?

There are various permutations to consider, Im interested to see how as a referee, middle of a game, would handle suspected drug use on the sidelines
 

zarathustra

RefChat Addict
Level 6 Referee
You could make the league aware of your suspicions without making a formal report to the FA.

The league can then decide whether they want to warn the club.

I've had to do something similar following reports about spectator activity at one of my matches. I didn't personally hear or see anything u towards but the away team felt strongly enough about it to call a league officer who turned up at the match.
 

CapnBloodbeard

RefChat Addict
Interesting question. I can see the argument for those arguing not to allow them to play due to being influenced by drugs.
But for anybody taking that approach - would you also prevent a player from taking part in the match if you saw them have a beer before the game, or at halftime (completely plausible with some teams!)? If not, what's the difference?
I think reporting it is reasonable, but I'm struggling to find any justification for taking more action.
 

santa sangria

RefChat Addict
This is interesting.

How about this: if you are quite sure there is some serious toking going on at one subs' bench but you cannot single out a player or staff member... when they request their first substitution, go over to the bench, look at the player, state that you think the player seems to be unfit to play because you think they are under the influence of an unidentifiable substance, then look at all the team's remaining subs and inform the coach that you think all the other subs are also unfit to play because you think they are under the influence of an unidentifiable substance.

That seems proportionate, clear and sensible. And easy to report afterwards. Or...?

Edited for a really confusing typo!
 
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Padfoot

The Persecuted One
Report it to the league....same territory as alcohol on the touchline...

Unless they are very obviously unfit to play I.e. will be a danger to themselves or others, then there is not a lot you can do.

To be fair the vast majority of lower divisions on a Sunday morning are fielding teams of still inebriated players.....just the degree of inebriation varies.
 

RustyRef

Administrator
Staff member
You'd be on impossibly dodgy ground if you took action against something you hadn't seen and had only whiffed. If I was really going to do anything, and I probably wouldn't, it would be to have a quiet word with the manager and say something like "I know something dodgy is being smoked over there, you can ignore it if you want but I will have to report my suspicions to the league". That way you have made it clear you know something is going on, but without making a song and dance over it.
 
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