Assault & Abuse


Referee assault is an intentional act of physical violence at or upon a referee. Assault includes, but is not limited to the following acts committed upon a referee: hitting, kicking, punching, choking, spitting at, or on, grabbing or bodily running into a referee; 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 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; spewing any beverage on a referee’s personal property; or verbally threatening a referee. Verbal threats are remarks that carry the implied or direct threat of physical harm. Such remarks as “I’ll get you after the game” or “You won’t get out of here in one piece,” shall be deemed referee abuse.

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

Referee Abuse Zero Tolerance

For any case of referee assault, you must notify the appropriate authority, depending on the league you are officiating:

  • For abuse or assault that occurs at RISA or Soccer RI sanctioned matches, contact the SRA at
  • For abuse or assault that occurs during a MASA or Mass Youth sanctioned match, a report should be filed with the Massachusetts State Referee Committee.
  • For abuse or assault that occurs at a US Club Soccer match (such as a USA League match), you must transmit a report, in writing, to the US Club Soccer northeast regional rep:Mike Gould
    (732) 564-4440 (W)
    (732) 309-2113 (C)

All matters of referee assault or abuse is governed by USSF rule 3042.