Play of the Week 28: Mass confrontation

In the latest Play of the Week, PRO Training & Development Manager Paul Rejer returns to a subject covered in Week 25 – Mass confrontation.

This Play of the Week discussed a clip from the Sporting Kansas City versus Houston Dynamo game where the match officials used approved practices and conducted the volatile situation to a successful conclusion.

They achieved this by remaining calm and concentrated and being in appropriate viewing positions. They identified the perpetrators and prevented the situation from further development.

Looking at Week 28’s Play of the Week, Rejer commented: “We had a mass confrontation in the game between Toronto FC and Chivas USA where Toronto’s Jackson Goncalves  fouls Nigel Reo-Coker in front of the Toronto bench. Reo-Coker reacts to the foul and this instigates the mass confrontation.

“The referee Edvin Jurisevic and AR Adam Garner quickly run in to the scene and attempt to break up the two players. What did they actually achieve? By the time they arrived they couldn’t prevent violent conduct from these players as it had already taken place.

“By running to the scene in this manner it sent out an invitation and actually encouraged other players to become involved. Rather than a calming effect it actually inflamed the situation.

“Let’s also consider what the officials can see from being amongst the players, rather than observing from the periphery.

“You can see Chivas’ Leandro Barrera run in and firmly push Jackson, further inciting the scenario. This was totally missed due to the two officials trying to be ‘policemen’ to two players and not considering the bigger picture.

“Match officials are also putting themselves at risk by placing themselves in the middle of such a volatile situation – they are effectively ‘joining in’ rather than remaining calm, concentrated and observing.

“Referee Jurisevic correctly sent off the perpetrators but missed Barrera’s involvement. The whole scene was eventually calmed – it always is – but the officials have to consider whether their actions:

– Helped

– Hindered

– Provoked

“To remind you of the approved PRO advice – Officials conduct at mass confrontations:

– Showing observation and meaningful dialogue

– Remaining calm and concentrated

– Being assertive

– Being in appropriate viewing positions

– Issuing sppropriate sanctions

“Coming up to such an important time of the season, with Playoffs on the horizon, there are bound to be heated exchanges between players, so it is vitally important that officials remain calm and adhere to all the approved practices. They are referees not policemen.”