Stonewall Youth Soccer Association
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Abusive Language


To: All certified Referees and Assistant Referees

Cc: All Leagues

From: Laurent Eloy - Chair Manitoba Soccer Association (MSA) Referee Development Committee (RDC)

Date: July 27, 2007

Re: Directive on Offensive or Insulting or Abusive Language (Law 12)


Dear Referees and Assistant Referees, over the last month the MSA RDC has received numerous complaints regarding the amount of offensive, foul and abusive language that has taken over our game.

The image of our sport is critical to retaining the participants, bringing back the fans to the game, to increase its appeal and the media coverage that it receives.

As such, the MSA RDC, with the support of the leagues, is implementing a directive of ZERO-TOLERANCE for offensive, foul and abusive language that the Referee or Assistant Referee hears whether directed at someone or not.

The Laws of the Game have been very clear on foul and abusive language for many years. The 2007-2008 Laws of the Game indicate under Law 12, page 39, Sending-Off Offences, "A player, substitute or substituted player is sent off and shown the red card if he commits any of the following seven offences:" offence #6 is "uses offensive or insulting or abusive language and/or gestures".

The above also applies to coaches and team officials. Although a card may not be shown to them, if they are dismissed, they must leave the vicinity of the field of play and the technical area by proceeding to go to the dressing room or their vehicle, if a dressing room is not available.

The ZERO-TOLERANCE for offensive, foul and abusive language is MANDATORY and all Referees and Assistant Referees MUST apply it in all leagues and divisions under the jurisdiction of the MSA. That is, in every game that you participate in you must deal with it. If you are the Assistant Referee you must bring the misconduct to the attention of the Referee.

The directive becomes effective in all leagues on August 1st, 2007. This will give each league time to communicate with their teams. It also allows time for the teams to discuss it with their players by beginning to implement the directive in their practices and any games prior to August 1st.

It is IMPERATIVE that prior to the game commencing, during the coin toss, the Referees remind the captains of each team that there is a ZERO-TOLERANCE on offensive, insulting and abusive language and/or gestures and that you will call it.

The MSA will severely deal with any written complaints about Referees and Assistant Referees that do not enforce the directive.

We understand that this is a drastic measure. However, the integrity of our game and the future of the game in our Province are at stake. We all have a responsibility to improve the image of our sport every day in every possible way.


Laurent Eloy

Laurent Eloy