Section XXI Misconduct Toward Game Officials


The following is Rule 531-9  “Misconduct Toward Game Officials” as printed in the USSF Administrative Handbook, 97/98 Edition.

General – Misconduct against referees may occur before, during and after the match, including travel to and from the match. Misconduct may occur also at later times when directly related to duties of a game official as a referee.

Terms and References – As used in the rule –

“Referee” includes the following:

(A) All currently registered USSF referees, assistant referees, 4th officials or others duly appointed to assist in officiating in a match.

(B) Any non-licensed, non registered person serving in an emergency capacity as a referee.

(C) Any club assistant referee.

“Hearing” means a meeting of at least three neutral members, one of which is designated or elected to serve as chairman. The hearing shall be conducted pursuant to guidelines established by the National State Association or Professional League.

Referee assault is an intentional act of physical violence at or upon a referee.

Assault includes, but is not limited to, the following acts committed upon a referee: hitting; kicking; punching; choking; spitting at; or on; grabbing or bodily running into a referee; head butting;;the act of kicking or throwing any object at a referee that could inflict injury; damaging the referee’s uniform or personal property, i.e. car, equipment, etc.

Referee abuse is a verbal statement or physical act not resulting in bodily contact which implies or threatens physical harm to a referee or the referee’s property or equipment.

Abuse includes, but is not limited to, the following acts committed upon a referee; using foul or abusive language toward a referee; spewing any beverage on a referee’s personal property; or verbally threatening the referee.

Verbal threats are remarks that carry the implied or direct threat of physical harm. Such remarks as “I’ll get you after the game” or “You won’t get our of here in one piece,” shall be deemed referee abuse.

Jurisdiction and hearings. (Condensed and paraphrased for understanding )

(A) When any VYSA player, coach, manager, club official or game official assaults or abuses a referee the original jurisdiction to adjudicate rests with VYSA.

(B) When the allegation of assault is verified by VYSA, the person is automatically suspended until the hearing of the assault.

(C) In cases of report of referee abuse, a hearing is held only when requested by the alleged assailant or otherwise deemed appropriate by the convening authority.

Penalties and Suspensions

(A) Assault

The player, coach, manager or official committing the referee assault is automatically suspended one (1) year from the time of the assault, unless serious injuries are inflicted, then the minimum suspended period will be at least (5) years. When the player, coach, manager, or official committing the referee assault is an adult and the referee is a minor (17 or younger), then the minimum suspension period is three (3) years. The National State Association (VYSA) adjudicating the matter may not provide shorter periods of suspension but, if circumstances warrant may provide a longer period of suspension.

(B) Referee Abuse

The minimum suspension period for referee abuse shall be at least three (3) scheduled matches within the rules of that competition. The National State Association (VYSA) adjudicating the matter may provide a longer period of suspension when circumstances warrant (e.g. habitual offenders