Reminders about the Caution/Ejection

By: John Van deVaarst, NISOA National Clinician and Assessor, New Jersey

Early in every soccer referee’s career, the reasons for caution and ejection were memorized.  The NCAA Rule book provides specific reasons for cautions and ejections as well as discretionary times when a yellow or red card can be issued.  As a quick review, a player is to be cautioned if they join the team after the kickoff and leaves or returns to the field of play without first reporting to the referee or assistant referee; persistently infringes upon any of the rules of the game; shows dissent by word of mouth or action to decisions made by the referee; uses profane language in an incidental manner; engages in other acts of unsporting behavior, including taunting, simulating a foul, exaggerating an injury, baiting, illegal substitution or ridiculing another player, bench personnel or officials; delays the restart of play; or fails to respect the required distance when play is restarted with corner kick or free kick.  A player shall be ejected if they are guilty of serious foul play or violent behavior, fighting, spitting at an opponent or any other person; denies the opposing team a goal or an obvious goal-scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball; denies an obvious goal-scoring opportunity to an opponent moving toward the player’s goal by an offense punishable by a free kick or a penalty kick; engages in hostile or abusive language or harassment that refers to race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or national origin, or other abusive, threatening or obscene language, behavior or conduct; or receives a second caution in the same match.

Many of the reasons for caution or ejection afford no discretion.  The rule must be enforced.  For example if a player uses profane language in an incidental manner they must be cautioned.  A player that engages in hostile or abusive language or harassment must be ejected.  As a NISOA member, you must follow all NCAA rules and not pick and choose what is to be punished.  This approach leads to inconsistency and problems for fellow NISOA officials.  Also, game control can be adversely impacted when the rules are not properly enforced.

When cautioning or ejecting a player the referee must use the proper mechanics.  First the clock is to be stopped.  The player is then isolated and advised as to the reason for the caution or ejection and then the appropriate card is displayed.  Once this occurs the official needs to record the player’ s number and the reason for the card.  The official should make sure there is no confusion on who received the card especially with the scorekeeper.  At games where there is an alternate official, the alternate must note the number of the player on the NISOA Alternate Official Game Report and whether it was a caution or ejection.  If there is no alternate official assigned, the referee should have had a discussion with the assistant referees as to who should record this information as part of the pregame discussion.

After the game the referee must verify the cautions, ejections and final score before signing the scorebook.  Failure to do this could result in a mistake in the book that may lead to a protest by one of the participating teams.  This should never occur.  If the scorebook is in the press box or not easily accessible, make sure it is brought to a place where it can be verified.  A quick tip here is that know where the score is going to be kept before the game and make the arrangements for where it will be delivered.  This will eliminate post game problems.  If a player is ejected the referee must complete the NISOA-NSCAA Referee’s Supplemental Report FDorm for Match Ejections.

About the NISOA-NSCAA Referee’s Supplemental Report for Match Ejections.

This report is to be submitted within 48 hours of the incident. A separate report is required for each ejection. It is imperative that the report is complete and clearly indicates the facts and details of the incident. If the ejection if for fighting, the referee must notify the NISOA Regional Representative within 24 hours of the incident. The NISOA Regional Representative will complete the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Fight Report Form and provide it to the appropriate school’s Athletic Director. Remember one punch equals a fight. Failure to follow these requirements can result in an ineligible player participating in a future game, and might result in a potential protest. Following proper procedures and enforcing the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Soccer Rules will diminish the potential for problems with game control and the foiling of protests.