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Downey AYSO Region 24

Referee Zero Tolerance Policy

Referee Zero Tolerance Policy

In recent seasons, Region 24 has witnessed incidents where coaches and/or spectators questioned the calls of referees requiring referees to stop matches to deal with the situation. There have also unfortunately been incidents, both before the start of a match and/or once a game has ended, when coaches and/or spectators confront referees or other volunteers over decisions made prior to, or during, the game. These incidents prompt the Region 24 Board of Directors to remind everyone that Region 24 has a “Zero Tolerance Policy” prohibiting such behavior.

Our “Zero Tolerance Policy” applies to all referees (not just Youth Referees).

Region 24 AYSO recognizes the hard work and dedication that all of our volunteer parent (and “community”) referees put forth and want to keep them contributing to the region as long as we can. They have volunteered–one of the key components of AYSO–to take on a challenging task and try their best to officiate to the best of their ability. Remember, they are all just regular parents and members of the community (like you) trying to do their best.  Sure they will make mistakes, they are only human. Let’s try to keep that in mind as the coaches “coach” and the parents “cheer” our Kids from the touchlines!


Region 24 AYSO has a  “Zero Tolerance Policy”  for ALL referees in order to preserve and protect them.

All individuals responsible for a team (Coaches and Team Managers) and all spectators (parents, friends, siblings, relatives)  shall support the referee and respect his/her decisions. Failure to do so will undermine the referee’s authority and has the potential of creating a hostile environment for the players, the referee, and all the other participants and spectators.

Consequently, Region 24 AYSO has adopted and modified the following rules:

  1. No one is to speak to the referee in an aggressive manner before, during or after the game.  Coaches may ask questions, politely, before and after the game, point out emergencies during the game, or respond to the referee if addressed during the game.
  2. Absolutely no disputing calls, during or after the game.  NO YELLING at the referee–EVER, and no criticism, sarcasm, harassment, or intimidation of any kind before, during or after the game. If the Coach wishes to get an explanation for a particular call he/she must wait until halftime or after the match is finished to approach the referee in a calm and controlled manner, but it is not the Referee’s responsibility to defend or justify their calls.  All decisions are made “in the opinion of the referee” (ITOOTR) and to the best of their ability.  In accordance of Law 5 of The Laws of the Game, “The decisions of the referee, and all other match officials, must always be respected.”
  3. Violators may be ejected and are subject to disciplinary action by the Region 24 AYSO Board of Directors.
  4. If coaches or spectators have questions or complaints regarding particular calls, rules, or a specific referee, or wish to give feedback regarding a referee, please feel free to contact the Regional Referee Administrator, Assistant Regional Referee Administrator, or any other board member. There is also a “Referee Performance Feedback Form” which can be found on the Website (under the “Coaches” main pull-down menu).

Enforcing the Referee Zero Tolerance Policy

  1. If a coach (or spectator) questions the call of a referee in a manner deemed inappropriate/irresponsible, the referee may stop the match, retrieve the game ball, and invite the coach onto the field for a conversation.
  2. During this conversation the coach may be told 3 things:
    • The purpose of the conversation is not to “debate” a call but to inform the coach that the behavior of the coach/spectator is unacceptable.
    • The coach has 2 choices. He/she can go back to their coaching area and coach per the AYSO philosophies, or, the coach/spectator can leave the playing facility.
    • The coach/spectator may be sent off if the referee has to speak to them again during the match.
  3. If the referee is a Youth Referee, the Youth Referee may stop the match, retrieve the game ball, and either deal with the matter on his or her own as described above, or, find a board member (if available) to deal with the situation as described above.
  4. Any coach/spectator who is heard “verbally abusing a referee” may automatically be sent off by the referee. “Verbal abuse” includes, but is not limited to, foul and abusive language.  As with all decisions made by the referee, what constitutes “verbal abuse” is entirely “in the opinion of the referee” (ITOOTR).
  5. If the unacceptable behavior of the coach/spectator occurs after the game has ended it will still be reported by the referee and will be considered as a cause for disciplinary action.
  6. Referees must submit a written or verbal report of any occurrences where a coach/spectator is sent off/ejected, and there will be an investigation to determine the facts and subsequent penalty if necessary. The penalties are at the discretion of the Region Board of Directors and may include, but are not limited to, suspension from future games.
  7. The Region Board of Directors also reserves the right to investigate instances when abuse of a referee or volunteer is not reported by the referee or volunteer, but is subsequently brought to the Board’s attention by any individual. The penalties are at the discretion of the Board and may include, but are not limited to, suspension from future games.

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Downey AYSO Region 24

P.O Box 39423 
Downey, California 90239

Email Us: [email protected]
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