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Competition Rules, Law 18, and “Gotcha” Refereeing

Yellow Card

Sometimes referees need to be cautioned

We have an obligation to know and apply the Laws of the Game (LOTG). It is helpful to know that the historical role of the referee was to be the independent judge to whom the teams would “refer” any disagreement. The expectation in the middle of the nineteenth century was that gentlemen (organized sports being the province of the privileged) should be able to play a game with minimal involvement of the judge.

Over time, this role began to be referred to (no pun intended) as the “referee” (well, maybe a little intended). And over time, unfortunately, the need for the referee became greater. That the referee is still the person that gets involved (or interferes, as a coach might put it) only as necessary is embedded in the Laws of the Game in concepts such as “trifling offenses”, “advantage”, and “if in the opinion of the referee”. This last term, commonly designated IITOOTR, is to give the referee the leeway to NOT get involved when it is appropriate, or get MORE involved when it is necessary.

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