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The BAFA Rules Committee, in conjunction with BAFCA and BAFRA, has issued updated guidance to teams on “talking to officials”.

This follows a number of recent incidents where officials have been abused or insulted by coaches. In many cases, these have resulted in the disqualification of the coach and their suspension for at least one game.

The problem is often that the coach does not know where the boundary lies between what is a reasonable question and one that is dissent. The new guidance is intended to clarify that.

The main point is that teams (even the head coach) do NOT have a right to question an official’s call. If a rule mistake is made, there is a procedure to fix it, but that does not extend to an official’s judgement call. Also, officials are trained to apply the rules in a certain way, that does not automatically mean a technical foul will be penalised. At the end of day, officials sometimes blow a call, and coaches need to learn to live with that reality.

BAFCA President Wayne Hill said, “The relationship between a coach and a referee is an important one for games to be played safely. Coaches need to give the officials their full respect and ensure that their players do too”.

BAFRA President Davie Parsons said, “Increasingly, officials are reporting bad behaviour by coaches. This is one of the factors that, if left unchecked, will result in us losing valuable members from BAFRA”.

Chair of the BAFA Rules Committee Jim Briggs added, “For the game to grow, we need coaches, players and officials all to be on the same page with regard to the rules on conduct and behaviour, both on and off the field of play. This guidance will go a long way to ensuring that”.

Keep up to date with all of the latest from the Rules Committee via the BAFA Rules Website.

Featured image courtesy of Dik Ng Photography