Writing a send-off or incident report is an unwelcome yet required duty that an official must properly complete and forward to the appropriate individual or entity.
When writing such a report, the official MUST focus on the facts of the situation only. The writer’s integrity may be scrutinized by adding personal opinions or distorting the facts. The recipient of the report and the named individual may start to question the writer’s intentions, which may lead to the possible rejection of the report.
If, while completing the report, an official’s personal feelings and emotions start to find their way into the report, a short break may clear the brain and help to refocus on the facts.
Whenever a situation requires a report to be submitted (i.e., a coach being ejected, a player is shown the red card, …), once the situation is under control. Before play is restarted, the official(s) must write down pertinent facts and details. Each official assigned to the match must jot down: the time of the incident, jersey numbers, names of those involved, cause of the incident, anything being said or done, witnesses, location of the incident, etc.…. At the end of the match, the officials should meet and go over their notes to make sure the head official can file a correct and proper report.
To support the official’s decision and decide on the appropriate punishment, the people receiving the reports must clearly understand what was said and done.
Some pitfalls that officials have been known to fall into:
- Not putting down exactly what words were said in any language when possible. If a player or coach calls the referee a “piece of s…..” or says, “After the game, I will kick your……in the parking lot,” writing down “the individual used foul language” or “threatened me” is not going to help cement the decision. Writing down exactly every word that was said will.
- Rambling on about prior insignificant things that happened earlier in the game. It makes it look like you are looking for evidence to justify your latest decision.
- Sugarcoating the event. Your choice of words can give the impression that you feel bad or sorry for removing the coach or red-carded player. If you have gotten to the point where they crossed your line in the sand, they surely deserve the call you made. There should be no reason to revisit your decision at this time.
- Rescinding a card after the end of a match to avoid writing a report or “befriending” the individual. This practice is not only unethical, but it will damage the official’s integrity and future assignments. If the card was shown in error, then the official should submit a separate report explaining the situation.
The report should be concise and as professional as possible before being forwarded; it should be proofread and neatly presented. Any other opinions or discussions regarding the report should be avoided as much as possible.