Definitions: Referee Assault and Referee Abuse

Excerpts From US Soccer Policy 531-9 — Misconduct Toward Game Officials

Misconduct against referees may occur before, during and after the match, including travel to or from the match. Misconduct may occur also at later times when directly related to duties of a game official as a referee.

“Referee” includes all currently registered USSF referees, assistant referees, fourth officials or others duly appointed to assist in officiating in a match, including club assistant referees.

"Referee assault" is an intentional act of physical violence at or upon a referee.

“Intentional act” shall mean an act intended to bring about a result which will invade the interests of another in a way that is socially unacceptable. Unintended consequences of the act are irrelevant.

Assault includes, but is not limited to the following acts committed upon a referee: hitting, kicking, punching, choking, spitting on, grabbing or bodily running into a referee; head butting; the act of kicking or throwing any object at a referee that could inflict injury; damaging the referee’s uniform or personal property, i.e. car, equipment, etc.

"Referee abuse" is a verbal statement or physical act not resulting in bodily contact which implies or threatens physical harm to a referee or the referee’s property or equipment.

Abuse includes, but is not limited to the following acts committed upon a referee: using foul or abusive language toward a referee that implies or threatens physical harm; spewing any beverage on a referee’s personal property; or spitting at (but not on) the referee.

Read additional information regarding misconduct toward game officials in the US Soccer Policy Manual.