USSF Assault On Referee Procedures/Guidelines

Assault On Referees Assaults do happen, even to experienced referees.  If such assaults are to be stamped out, referees must follow a sensible and consistent course of action that will enable the State Association to punish offenders, and discourage potential offenders from acts of violence. A referee should react to an assault in a manner that will permit administration and enforcement agencies to do their job. "Misconduct Toward Game Officials" is covered under Federation Policy 531-9. Please refer to that in this book in the section titled "United States Soccer Federation Rules Pertaining to Referees ".

If an assault occurs:

1. Never strike back if such action can possibly be avoided. Defend yourself as passively as possible. When a referee is struck, the majority of players and bystanders are automatically sympathetic towards him, even if they were previously hostile.  If the referee chooses to "slug it out," he stands to lose the support and calming influence of these people.  He may also prejudice his own legal position.

2. Try to remain calm and avoid undue signs of stress.  Maintain a standard of behavior befitting a professional referee.  Remember that police officers are assaulted frequently, yet they react in as controlled a manner as the situation permits, drawing on their re s o u rces of self-control to get to the top of the threatening situation.

3. Get the details down on paper (when things are under control).
   a. Note the player's number and obtain his name from the team captain or coach if necessary. 
   b. Send him off if possible.  If not, advise the captain of your decision, and be prepared to abandon the game if the player is not removed completely from the scene.

4. Obtain witnesses. Consult your assistant referees, if any, or any unattached bystanders. Get names and telephone numbers.  Use other players only as a last resort.  Do not be concerned about holding up the game; common assault is a criminal offense and must be treated seriously.  Make notes to be sure that your subsequent report is accurate. After the game, discuss the incident with your witnesses; this is quite legal as no charges have been laid at this stage.  Get your facts right.

5. Seek medical attention if you are injured.  Go to the nearest hospital emergency room or trauma clinic.  The medical personnel will treat any injuries, and document them for the record. 

6.  Upon returning home after the game, contact by telephone the President of the State Association and the State Referee Administrator.  Those individuals will then be aware of the incident, and will be in a position to give support and advice.