Thursday, March 12, 2009

Ask Ray... week four

The Query:
I have in recent weeks watched four men's games in which the level of abuse hurled at the umpires was beyond belief. The abuse was both direct to them as to " Whether they were watching the game" to foul-mouthed use of the F-word repeatedly, both at the umpires directly and to team mates.

My question for Ray is essentially what is the exact rule as regards use of foul language and what sanction should an umpire apply?

Ray's repsonse
I would like to answer this question in two parts:
Foulmouthed use of the F word repeatedly both at the umpires directly and to team mates
a. People On The pitch
b. People Watching the game

i) is the technical answer (within the rules)
ii) is my own opinion.

i) For people on the panel, within the rules, this is regarded a MISCONDUCT .
Misconduct within our game, has got to be dealt with firmly. The captain is responsible for the behaviour of all the players. The umpire should work through the captain and deal with “Foulmouthed language”.

There are many options for an umpire to deal with this. I would suggest that common sense should prevail at all times in dealing with MISCONDUCT.

ii) This problem has been around for many years and we all must take some of the blame. Having said that, we, also, will all have to work together to find a solution.

Umpires alone will not be able to cure this on their own. I personally know for many years I have seen players receiving cards for “Foulmouthed language”. I do not believe that the administration, who receive the information about the cards have dealt with the offenders.

As regard to abuse-hurling spectators, there is nothing an umpire can do about that. We all have a responsibility in this area.

I do know of one of our best known clubs that has an area known as the “pigpen” where a gathering of spectators do exactly as described in the question: “a level of abuse hurled at the umpires was beyond belief.”

To take this forward and make a start at a cure, I believe it is time to put a firm protocol in place to deal with this. I do think that umpires can help but administrators across our game, must play their part. The question I ask is: are we all willing to contribute?


Anonymous said...

I think the look of sheer confusion on Mick's face sums the whole thing up!!!
I think the single biggest thing that players and spectators want to see is consistency in umpiring. Not erratic decision making that can incense and frustrate players. I understand that it's not always possible for an umpire to make the correct decision, but as long as he makes the same call each time a given situation arises for both teams then he will avoid a lot of hassle.

Queso said...

Thanks Ray,

I've always been very proud of the high level of respect (relatively) that hockey players show toward umpires, when compared to other sports... soccer, gaelic etc.

I hope this continues and if we get the impression that standards are slipping, then we need to take action.

Hockey is a great family sport played and watched by all from 8 to 80... top players set the standard of what kids aspire to and their words and actions have to lead by example.

Anonymous said...

There are a few clubs now who constantly question umpires decisions even when they know the umpire is correct. It is seen as a coordinated effort to pressure the umpire into giving them a few big decisions later on in the game. You also see the same teams getting a number of players to question the umpire at the same time but refrain from using foul language as another method of putting pressure on the umpire. This badly needs to be addressed.

Ump said...

With Mick, I think it was a case that he was just glad to be only getting a green card!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Maybe if umpires were more consistent in their decisions and were generally better and fair they wouldn't receive such abuse.

Anonymous said...

yes but there are certain players in these clubs who EVERYONE know even the umpires will know them and yet nothing is done about it. Be it mouthing or diving etc. every player should be treated the exact same way in every exact same predicament no matter who you are. And as for umpires making rash decisions i do believe Last sundays match PW v Glenanne says it all -quote "you are being punished for bad technique"-Short corner for accidently raising ball on reverse on def own endline. can ray please explain this????

Anonymous said...

I would like to see some equality between the men's and women's game. My experience is that women are expected to be completely mute and are carded for asking genuine questions like "what was that for?" while men are able to roar abuse at the umpires without a whistle even being blown. Of course players should not pressure umpires in an effort to get "a few big decisions" later on the game but there are times when a player should be legitimately allowed ask a question about a decision. For example, I have twice asked "what was that for?" when the ball hit my hand in the circle. Both times the umpires had clearly heard an impact and believed it to be my foot. The first time I was on the line and a penalty stroke was given against me. I questioned it and it was very fairly and reasonably reversed (it did help that my hand was bleeding). The second time I was just inside the circle and when I questioned it, I was carded for doing so(in my view very unfairly and unreasonably).

Anonymous said...

It really is all about geting the decision right more often., your going to have guys who question everything, even when its obvious. thats just the nature of the beast. Hockey and Cricket and Rugby have strong respect for the Ref/umpire and thsi has to continue. In Hockey, the top teams are leting this slip and it needs to be stamped out.

Anonymous said...

Ah yes consistency. The holy grail. Anonymous 9.55am states that "it's not always possible for an umpire to make the correct decision, but as long as he makes the same call each time a given situation arises for both teams then he will avoid a lot of hassle"

What happens in the moments between decisions that the umpire realises that he got the first one wrong? To say that he should give the same decision each time makes no sense. The bottom line is that umpires (like all players) will make mistakes and players need to live with it.

I've no doubt that the Auto pass will lessen and possibly rid umps of the abuse and should be brought into all levels of the game

Anonymous said...

Goor point re autopass. Whats the story with it at the moment, is it true that the leinster league will use the rule next season. I believe it should be brought in through all levels of the game too. It will make the game a far better spectator sport as many of my friends who have come to games, but dont know the rules fully are often left frustrated at the amount of stoppages for reasons they cant fathom. I think the general public would really take to watching hockey if the rule was implemened fully.

Anonymous said...

From the 1st of May 2009 the auto pass will be part of the rules of Hockey across all levels.

Anonymous said...

What is the rule, if any, regarding umpires abusing players?

Are umpires allowed to use abusive language at players and spectators on the sidline?

Anonymous said...

I think Ray is spot on with his point on all of us taking responsibiity. I find myself abusing umpires from the stands when not on the pitch. Each one of us should take a look at ourselves first.

There is definitely a problem with specific groups of spectators constantly hurling abuse at certain games. It has to be addressed formally.

Maybe Ray could do a follow up in what graded steps to take with dealing with abuse/moaning from players on the pitch?
-Move the free 10 yards or reverse the decision
-verbal warning for player
-caution captain
-green card for captain

Something along those lines?

As for comments on consistency and umpiring ability; it's off point and irrelevant. Players and spectators will not improve an Umpire's skill by shouting abuse at them.

Having said all of the above, there are some excellent umpires out there and they make the game all the more enjoyable to play.

Anonymous said...

Green card for the captain? I know he's the one responsable for the rest of the team, but surely the person making to offence should be given the green card?

Anonymous said...

I definitely agree that women and treated unfairly by some umpires. I've been carded for stupid things in comparison to the abuse at some of the men's matches.
I take it we're not allowed to mention the one team that are awful to all umpires and who often are in control of umpires?

Anonymous said...

Well done to Ray for bringing up the problem of abusive supporters.It can be really bad at two particular clubs,such a shame as both have contributed so much to Irish hockey over the years and have set the highest standards in previous years (even decades).But like modern society standards slip,what a shame,and of course players hear these comments and react accordingly.

Anonymous said...

As a green supporter of the wonderful game of hockey. The relationship between umpire and player is better than soccer, but not up there with rugby. Its something both umpire and player need to work on, highlighted by the comments on this blog/ask the umpire section that show umpiring decisions are both technical/interpretation. Umpires and players need to accept each others mistakes (within reason).