When dismissing a player from the field of play, referees at all levels are currently required to write a detailed report of the offence when reporting the dismissal.
The purpose of this report is largely historic and relates to when players were able to appeal a dismissal and attend a personal hearing to challenge the report. The move at grassroots level from term-based discipline to match-based discipline prevented personal hearings for red card offences and was replaced with the wrongful dismissal process.
The requirement to report the detail of the dismissal is not necessary for the wrongful dismissal process that now applies at all levels of the game, and in fact contributes to confusion as to the purpose of that process.
The ability to claim a wrongful dismissal applies when a club can demonstrate that the decision to send off a player for the offence committed was obviously wrong.
Clubs often concentrate their submissions on perceived errors in the detail of the report rather than whether the decision to send off for the offence was or was not correct. The onus is on the club to show that the referee was obviously wrong in the dismissal offence, and where they cannot satisfy that burden, any claim should fail.
It has therefore been agreed to amend the reporting process with effect from the start of the 2018/19 season to operate the same as reporting yellow card offences. This change will apply at all levels of the game.
Therefore, the referee is only required to report the red card offences as laid out in the laws of the game as follows:
S1. Serious Foul Play
S2. Violent Conduct
S3. Spits at an Opponent or any other person
S4. Denying the opposing player an obvious goal scoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball
S5. Denies the opposing player an obvious goal scoring opportunity by an offence punishable by a free kick or penalty kick
S6. Uses Offensive, insulting or abusive language
S7. Receives a second caution in the same match (This offence also requires the referee to report the caution offence for each caution.
Offences of S2 – Violent conduct will be categorised further with the following categories:
• S2 – Violent Conduct - Head to Head contact
• S2 – Violent Conduct - Elbowing
• S2 – Violent Conduct - Kicking
• S2 – Violent Conduct - Stamping
• S2 – Violent Conduct – Striking
• S2 – Violent Conduct – Biting
• S2 – Violent Conduct – Other Unspecified Behaviour
There will be no requirement to write any further details for dismissals. This will save the referees time in reporting and avoid supplying unnecessary detail surrounding the offence.
It should be noted that both the MOAS (Match Official Administration System) and WGS (Whole Game System) Portal are being amended to permit this change.
Referees will still be required to write details surrounding extraordinary incidents in the following circumstances.
a. Where the dismissal offence has a more serious impact than the dismissal itself, the referee will be required to submit the dismissal offence as normal and then add a supplementary extraordinary report clarifying why the dismissal was exceptional. Such examples would be where the offence committed included an aggravated breach such as discriminatory language or behaviour (homophobic, sexist or reference to race/colour/religion/ethnicity etc.) or here there was a serious injury caused by the act of violent conduct.
b. Where further misconduct happened following the dismissal, such as the player refusing to leave the field of play or committed other further acts of misconduct following the dismissal.
c. Where the offences committed were by non-playing staff or spectators.
For further information or clarification, please contact our Referee Development Officer, Matt Eva, on Matt.Eva@somersetfa.com