Due to continuing problems/issues with sideline behaviors on the parent/spectator touchline – and the impact that inappropriate behavior has upon our youth, especially upon youth referees; and the additional impact that inappropriate sideline behaviors have upon overall referee retention, East Central is implementing a SILENT WEEKEND (Oct 7&8) for all EAST CENTRAL sponsored league games at all levels.
The current CODE OF CONDUCT applicable to game day behaviors of Parents and Visitors includes:
a. Children have more need for example than for criticism.
b. Attempt to relieve the pressure of the competition, not increase it.
c. A child is easily affected by outside influences.
d. Show respect to your child’s coaches and officials. Many coaches are volunteers giving of personal time and money to provide a recreational activity for your child.
e. Applaud good plays by your team and by members of the opposing team.
f. Do not openly question an official’s judgment and honesty.
g. Officials are symbols of fair play, integrity, and sportsmanship. Accept the results of each game.
h. Encourage your child to be gracious in victory and to turn defeat into victory by working towards improvement.
i. Remember, your children are involved in organized sports for their enjoyment, NOT YOURS! Encourage your child to always play by the rules. Teach your child that honest effort is as important as victory so that the result of each game is accepted without undue disappointment.
j. On game day, officials should be treated with respect before, during, and after the game. Officials should be addressed as “Referee” or “Mr. or Ms. Referee” and not by name. Professional respect should be mutual and there should be no demeaning dialogue or gesture between the official and the parent.
A fully licensed soccer referee badge can be earned at age 14. So, it's not uncommon for teenagers to be refereeing the younger ages, who happen to have some of the more "enthusiastic" parents. That is where those younger referees are mentored and gain experience. So, in that circumstance it is essentially adults yelling at teenagers. The number one reason that youth soccer referees report for not returning is inappropriate behavior from parents.
Since behaviors which are contrary to these guidelines are occurring far too frequently the following shall be the protocol for Silent Weekend (Oct 7&8):
1. All parents and visitors shall be silent during the game. No cheering, no jeering; just enjoy your player and the game that they love. Also, all parents and visitors shall be on that half of the parent touchline opposite their team’s bench.
2. In the event of a parent or visitor violates this rule, on the first instance during a game the referee will ASK the coach to counsel his parents/visitors to remain silent, on the second instance during the game the referee will TELL the coach to counsel his parents/visitors to remain silent, upon the third instance during the game the referee will direct the coach to DISMISS the offending spectator(s) – if they do not leave or the coach refuses - then the coach will be sent off. If there is not an appropriately carded adult to continue coaching the game, the game will be abandoned and the circumstances reported to East Central. Likewise, if the offending spectator(s) still refuse to leave, even after the coach is sent off, then the game will be abandoned and the circumstances reported to East Central. If in the opinion of the referee the situation warrants, first two steps (ASK/TELL) are not required.
3. Prior to the beginning of the season, each team manager shall obtain parent signatures on behalf of each player on their roster acknowledging their awareness of the parent/visitor code of conduct.
4. Team managers are expected to be on the parent touchline in order to address any inappropriate behaviors directly.
5. Teams / Parent Groups / Individuals who are reported as having been dismissed from a game are subject to sanctions for their inappropriate conduct. Repeat offenders will be sanctioned more severely. The purpose of this is to make parents/visitors aware of the East Central focus on appropriate sideline behavior and of the existence of a CODE OF CONDUCT, and re-establish that managing parent/visitor behavior is the responsibility of coaches and clubs, NOT referees.