Use of Foul or Abusive Language

August 18th, 2016

FFNC wish to put some clarity into the use of language that may be considered as being “foul or abusive”, commonly known as “swearing”.

Although such language is regretfully common place within society, the use of such language within the football environment is unacceptable.

Match Officials have an authority (and are obliged to respond) under the Laws of the Game (Law 12) to any incident of a participant identified as “showing dissent by word or action” or the use of “offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures”. The referee’s interpretation of the seriousness of the words or actions will determine whether one of the following occurs;

  • Verbal warning given;
  • Yellow Card issued (ie caution);
  • Red Card issued (ie Send-Off)

Foul or abusive language uttered is NOT able to be defended based on reasons such as a claim that such language was “only uttered to myself, my team-mates or was unable to be heard by others.” Despite some expectations that ALL referees will make the SAME interpretation on DIFFERENT incidents, participants are advised that action taken by “any” referee in “any” match, will NOT set a precedent or provide immunity for any other incident where a referee determines that dissent was shown or offensive, insulting or abusive language/gestures was used.

Sanctions imposed by the Competition Administrator can be anticipated as being more severe when offensive, insulting or abusive language/gestures is reported as being made against a match official.

The FFA National Disciplinary Regulations (Table of Offences) defines a MINIMUM sanction to be imposed for an offence reported as; “Use of offensive, insulting or abusive language and/or gestures against a match official” to be FOUR (4) matches.

Our aim must be to change the culture that sees the use of foul and abusive language (and/or actions), as being an acceptable part of local football activity. Member Clubs play a critical influential role in brokering the values that are required and we applaud efforts to promote appropriate behaviour, including respect for match officials.

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