Spectator discipline

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tomj
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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby tomj » Thu Aug 03, 2017 12:11 am

Generally speaking, here is what the referees are told, at least in high school and age group levels.

If there is a spectator interfering with the ability of the officials to conduct the game smoothly, the officials have the authority to have that spectator removed. The procedure is NOT to order the spectator out of the facility yourself, but to stop the game and find a site administrator or tournament director and ask them to remove the spectator. If there is no such person available, and the team affiliation of the spectator is known, then the request should be made to the coach of the affiliated team. If the coach refuses to engage the spectator or the spectator refuses to leave, the official has the authority to abandon the contest.

The officials have essentially complete discretion in this area. I have had spectators removed for badgering the kids at the desk, for profanity, for taunting the opponents team, and for abusing me or my partner. I have never had to abandon a contest, but I have seen it done.

wpmike
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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby wpmike » Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:12 pm

Why would a referee even talk to a spectator? I have to question them when they do. I have seen them even look at the stands when the game is in progress. Many many times! Where do they draw the line? Do they feel like a spectator can influence the way they call a match? If so why do they banter back to the fan. When you pay for a service you have the right to expect the referees to meet a certain standard. Most spectators are long time fans and have spent a ton of money in their children's club fees and travel and hotel expenses. Is there any REAL testing and FOLLOW UP checking up on the referees? I think every sport should have something in place. When the referees are less then good, and not biased for either sides is one thing, but whichever side you are on you will not necessarily see the other sides bad calls. And this is where fans get noisy but shouldn't the referees be able to rise above that and just focus on the match and leave ALL spectator contact up to the teams?

oldtimer
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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby oldtimer » Wed Jan 02, 2019 5:18 pm

The original post was the result of a specific tournament game where a few fans were getting very rude toward not only the referee but the opposing team.

in the original post, you can see the reference to the rule that indicates the referee is responsible for keeping control of the contest - and that includes spectators. Just as it is unsafe, and therefore illegal, to incite a riot in a crowd, it can be unsafe for spectators to become unruly and cause fights in the stands, etc.

The original question was whether a referee can expect a coach to help keep fans in line. That was prompted by a comment from a coach whose team was involved in the above mentioned event stating that he had no responsibility whatsoever, and that the referee should have dealt solely with the tournament director. My question was about whether the coach is/should be expected to help intervene.

Unless I am misunderstanding the comment above, it sounds like someone thinks spectators should be able to cause any disruption they want and referees should just ignore it, no matter whether it creates a safety issue or not.

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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby AccordionDoug » Thu Jan 03, 2019 7:23 pm

oldtimer wrote:The original post was the result of a specific tournament game where a few fans were getting very rude toward not only the referee but the opposing team.

in the original post, you can see the reference to the rule that indicates the referee is responsible for keeping control of the contest - and that includes spectators. Just as it is unsafe, and therefore illegal, to incite a riot in a crowd, it can be unsafe for spectators to become unruly and cause fights in the stands, etc.

The original question was whether a referee can expect a coach to help keep fans in line. That was prompted by a comment from a coach whose team was involved in the above mentioned event stating that he had no responsibility whatsoever, and that the referee should have dealt solely with the tournament director. My question was about whether the coach is/should be expected to help intervene.

Unless I am misunderstanding the comment above, it sounds like someone thinks spectators should be able to cause any disruption they want and referees should just ignore it, no matter whether it creates a safety issue or not.


I think wpmike is one of those parents who's kid only loses when the refs are against him/her.
There's always going to be collective groans and obvious dismay from the stands towards officials, but when a spectator is behaving in a way that clearly demonstrates they want attention, they shall have it.

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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby Water-Polo-Fan » Sun Jan 06, 2019 11:17 am

In the event a fan, be they a parent, student, relative disrupt a game to the point where it can’t be played to a rightful conclusion AND the spectator refuses to leave the facility at the request of someone with standing of the facility, the person with standing should notify the police to have that person removed. To disrupt a school function and refuse to leave the premises when asked, and then told, to leave is a crime in most, if not all, states. Yes, it’s a minor crime but I’ve seen it applied at high school basketball/football games. 99% of the time when the police show up the “fan” is convinced to leave without incident.

Me? I’d ignore the “fan” and allow the administrators to handle the disruptor with the police instead of abandoning the game as that only punishes both teams as well as appropriately boisterous fans.

oldtimer
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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby oldtimer » Sun Jan 06, 2019 3:39 pm

Presume you are in a tournament setting, where each game is schedule to last about an hour. The disruption causes a game delay, and the fan refuses to calm down. What do you believe the tournament director would prefer: Possibly delaying the games for an hour or more, impacting the schedule to a point where multiple games might have to be moved or canceled on very short notice - or cutting short a single game?

The game is not, and should not be, about the fans at the age-group level. That might be the case in professional sports, because that's the revenue stream - but not at HS age and below. At least, that's my opinion.

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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby Water-Polo-Fan » Sun Jan 06, 2019 7:43 pm

With all due respect it appears we’re starting to pigeon hole this into a scenario where a game MUST be abandoned for safety reasons. If that’s the case, so be it and you fill out the appropriate online forms to document it and make the appropriate phone calls to notify your game assignors. If not a safety issue you ignore the dolt and hope he/she is shamed into relative submission by the other fans.
I don’t know about you, but if it’s an age group or high school tournament (where the quarter times are shortened to accommodate getting in a lot of games) a fan usually won’t have enough time in a game to get an abandonment consideration. If they’re only yelling and not coming on the deck to confront you let them yell away. Who cares?

If it’s a safety issue after the game you get with your partner and either walk out together or call the police for an escort. Many colleges provide security escorts off the deck and to your car if need be. UC Davis is very good with that. Even if it’s not needed they usually walk with you anyway. In CA there’s a subsection in the law that protects game officials (admittedly it’s applied after the fact should there be a confrontation) but at least some states recognize the increasing perils of officiating.
In the end you do whatever is best for the safety of you, the teams or other fans. The “comfort” or “tolerance” bar is set differently for different officials for their own personal reasons.

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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby oldtimer » Sun Jan 06, 2019 9:16 pm

Since I am the person who started the thread, I suggest that there is no 'pigeon-hole' being created. Here is my description of the incident that prompted the question - if you look back to the previous page:

"It is based on an incident that was described to me, where referees kicked out a parent that was allegedly misbehaving, who then returned and was allegedly being belligerent. The referees asked the coach to deal with the spectator, but he felt it was not his role. I am not certain of all the details, but I understand that those managing the facility were trying to get the spectator to leave, and he resisted - almost resulting in a physical altercation."

The question was whether a coach, knowing that the belligerent fan is a parent of one of his players, has any responsibility for helping to get things under control. I always presumed the coach has some responsibility, but this particular coach insisted it was not his role at all. I was trying to get some feedback on what referees were being instructed to do.

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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby Water-Polo-Fan » Mon Jan 07, 2019 7:14 am

Got it. I’d ask the coach all the while knowing it wasn’t realistically his/her “responsibility” but hoping he/she would take the issue on themselves to help restore order. Absent that I’d ignore the idiot, whistle on while making sure they don’t escalate things by coming on the pool deck for any physical confrontation.
Abandoning a game would be the absolute last resort and in 30+ years of officiating I’ve abandoned only TWO games. One was for unsafe playing conditions due to poor lighting and the other was a full on fight in the pool between two bitter high school rival teams. Fans are there to be ignored by the officials.
Just my opinion and experience.

OCPoloDad
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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby OCPoloDad » Sun Feb 03, 2019 11:35 am

I know this does not answer the question but a Coach, a Coach whom I fully respect, addressed this in a creative way: the star player's dad was being one of those unruly spectators. The Coach pulled his son out of the pool and asked the player to go sit next to his dad to explain how the game is played and what may or may not be happening from a referee's perspective. This was done during an age group game of which the coach had confidence his team would win. I found it to be a powerful message and method to address the behavior. Obviously the parental behavior was pretty egregious to resort to such a tack.

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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby Water-Polo-Fan » Wed Feb 13, 2019 3:09 am

I wouldn’t have done it, as there are more problems that can arise as a result than would be solved, but it looks like the coach was able to make it work that time. I wouldn’t want to put a player in the position of “educating” his/her parent as some parents could be highly offended and resent the child being put in that position.

That being said, the coach in this example had some insight to his/her player’s ability to make the situation work out well. Kudos to all involved.

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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby oldtimer » Wed Feb 13, 2019 10:16 pm

I guess to be clear about this particular venue, the pool is a 6 lane, 25 yd all deep pool with a shallow pool beside it - the way they used to make them in the 'old days' where one was a competition swimming pool and the other a diving tank. The point being - the deck is about 5-6 feet wide next to the pool. Just enough for a spectator with a chair and the referee walking right in front of them. The other side has a small set of bleachers with about three tiers, again with just enough space for the referee to walk in front. I can assure you that I've had kids play there and a loud, belligerent spectator can be very difficult to ignore when he is only about two feet behind you.

Strela999
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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby Strela999 » Thu Feb 28, 2019 11:21 am

It's true that, sadly, this isn't like in other sports where the supporters are kept further away, in water polo, an angry spectator with a cane on the first rank could touch with it! I almost ran into this situation when I was a teenager and played waterpolo, I almost got hit by the grandmother (if not the great-grandmother) of one of my teammates who got mad at the referee and at pretty much everyone but her (great-)grandson :lol:

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Re: Spectator discipline

Postby AccordionDoug » Wed Mar 06, 2019 12:21 pm

oldtimer wrote:I guess to be clear about this particular venue, the pool is a 6 lane, 25 yd all deep pool with a shallow pool beside it - the way they used to make them in the 'old days' where one was a competition swimming pool and the other a diving tank. The point being - the deck is about 5-6 feet wide next to the pool. Just enough for a spectator with a chair and the referee walking right in front of them. The other side has a small set of bleachers with about three tiers, again with just enough space for the referee to walk in front. I can assure you that I've had kids play there and a loud, belligerent spectator can be very difficult to ignore when he is only about two feet behind you.


Cajon High School?
I've seen spectators removed there exactly because of the situation you have described.

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