Disciplinary Procedures

How to deal with discipline and misconduct

The FIT rules set out a continuum of sanctions that can be used in case of problems with discipline or misconduct during a match, from verbal warnings to dismissal from the game.

Remember that if you send a player off for the remainder of the game or cite any player, you should complete the Referee Incident Report Sheet (document below) and email it to us at so that a proper record is kept and in case of further review of the incident. The sheet should be completed as soon as possible after the match has finished and include the comments of all those officiating the match.

You can also contact us to discuss any incidents and should complete the abuse report form if you witness abuse (even if you aren’t reffing).


Abuse is the number one reason why referees leave our sport, which is why every participant (referees, players and spectators) needs to deal with it immediately. If you witness abuse, please talk to the tournament organiser or a senior referee immediately. Alternatively, contact the ETA Referee Committee at or complete the abuse report form, which can be done anonymously and by referees, players, spectators or other participants.

Referee abuse includes comments, gestures or behaviour that is offensive, indicates disagreement with a decision or puts in doubt the referee’s impartiality. Abuse has no place in our sport. Ever.

Example of abuse are:

– Players loudly and openly disputing decisions
– Players calling for decisions, e.g. a defender calling a pass forward, or an attacker claiming the defender was offside
– Many players running towards the referee, for whatever reason
– Players disagreeing with an explanation given by a referee after a ruling
– Swearing, even if not directed at the referee
– Insulting the referee, even if not directed at the referee

This does NOT mean that players should never talk to the referee, as referees should always be open and approachable. A player can politely ask a referee for clarification on a ruling, to which the referee should answer clearly and concisely. If the player understands the explanation (whether they agree or not!), that’s it and play continues. There is no time for a debate or discussion.


The ETA has created a Code of Conduct document which all participants should adhere to at all times (see below).

We are also finalising a disciplinary procedures document which sets out the process for management of abuse, misconduct and citations (to be added shortly). The guidance will take into account the Federation of International Touch Code of Conduct.

Referees’ Incident Report Sheet

ETA Code of Behaviour

FIT Code of Conduct