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Fundamental Soccer Blog

Number One Priority is Players Safety

Athletes of all ages and at all levels have the potential to be injured and it is the Number One Priority of all officials to keep players safe.

The game is constantly evolving and changes will take place.  Whether it is due to players’ size, speed, strength, or equipment, officials are expected to keep players safe from injuries.  As safety concerns arise, there may be additions or revisions to the Laws of The Game.  Officials must follow the Laws and have the courage to enforce them.

Instructors, mentors, coaches, and assignors not only must make sure that officials know the Laws and how to enforce them, but they must stand by the officials and support them when the time comes.

Laws dealing with such things as jewelry, casts, shin guards, concussions, tackles committed in a reckless manner or with excessive force, must be enforced by all officials in order to safeguard the players.

When an injury occurs, it is important for the official to recognize it immediately and determine if additional help is needed.  Officials are not expected to be amateur physicians and any doubt on the part of an official, he/she is expected to err on the side of caution and immediately summon help.

Officials should be prepared to offer any information related to the injury and possibly not be seen by the medical staff.

When it comes down to players’ safety, officials need to carefully consider whether a simple warning for a foul that injures an opponent is the correct and proper decision to be made in that instance.  The message being sent to and received by those involved in the match may set the tone for the remainder of the contest.

Pat Ferre

US YOUTH SOCCER (2021 Volunteer of the Year) USSF Referee Grade 15 Emeritus USSF Referee Instructor USSF Referee Assessor USSF Referee Assignor District-7 Youth Referee Administrator (DYRA)