Zero Tolerance Policy

To help prevent physical assault and verbal abuse during sanctioned events the Central Maryland Soccer Association has adopted a ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY. This policy applies to all coaches, players, parents, spectators, other supporters and referees effective immediately for all C.M.S.A. games on all fields where games and practices are held.

Any abusive and obscene language, violent play/conduct, fighting and other behavior (including, but not limited to sarcasm, taunting, etc.) deemed detrimental to the game will not be tolerated. The ultimate responsibility for the actions of all coaches, players and spectators resides with the affiliated program members of the Central Maryland Soccer Association. It is the responsibility of the coaches and registered staff to provide referee support and spectator control at all organized C.M.S.A. activities.

This policy applies before, during and after all events at all soccer venues and fields; and all immediate surrounding areas.

Please note the following:

  • The referee does not have to show a yellow card before showing a red card.
  • No parent or spectator shall address the referee or assistant referees at any time before during or after any contest regarding the “officiating” of the game.

Parents & Spectators

Parents and spectators shall not dispute calls during or after the game.

Parents and spectators shall not make remarks to the referee(s) or advise the referee(s) to watch certain players or attend to rough play.

Parents and spectators shall never yell at the referee(s) ( including criticism, sarcasm, harassment, intimidation or feedback of any kind) before, during or after the game.

Additionally, parents and spectators shall not make derogatory comments to players, spectators or coaches of either team.

Any club member visiting a C.M.S.A. playing field will be subject to a hearing by the C.M.S.A. Board of Directors for behavior which is in direct conflict with the ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY.

Penalties (Parents & Spectators)

  • In the opinion of the referee, depending on the severity of the offense, the referee may take any of the following actions:
    1. The referee may issue a verbal warning to the coach of offending party’s team.
    2. The referee may stop the game and instruct the coaches to direct the offending Parent(s) and/or spectator(s) to leave the immediate field area.
    3. The referee may abandon the game if the parent(s) and or spectator(s) do not leave the field; which will result in the offending team forfeiting the game and being assessed the appropriate fees and/or fines.

Coaches, Assistant Coaches & Trainers

It is the responsibility of all coaches to maintain the highest standards of conduct for themselves, their staff, players and supporters at all matches. Failure to do so undermines the referee’s authority and the integrity of the game resulting in a hostile environment for players, the referee(s), coaches, assistant coaches, trainers and parents/spectators.

As role models for all of the participants and spectators, coaches participating in any C.M.S.A., S.A.Y. and US Club Soccer sanctioned event are expected to be supportive of, and to acknowledge the effort, good play and sportsmanship on the part of all players from either team in a game. By example, coaches, assistant coaches and trainers are expected to show that although they are competing in a game, they have respect for their opponent, referees and spectators at all times.

C.M.S.A. will not tolerate negative behavior exhibited either by demonstrative actions and gestures, or by ill-intentioned remarks, including those addressed toward the referees or members of an opposing team. Coaches exhibiting hostile, negative, sarcastic or otherwise ill-intended behavior toward referees, opposing players or coaches will be subject to disciplinary action by the C.M.S.A. Board of Directors.

Coaches are responsible to inform their parents and spectators the particulars of this “Zero Tolerance” policy


The soccer referee does more than administering the Laws of the Game. He or she is responsible for the entire event which includes activities before, during and after the game. The referee is the final decision maker in matters relating to the play and his decisions are biding.

Pre-Game Responsibilities

Prior to the match, the referee must sure that the players are ready to play and all their jewelry is removed. The soccer referee must then approve the number of players for each team before proceeding to start the game.

He has to arrive in time to check on players and meet with the coaches. The minimum time recommended is 15 minutes before the scheduled kick-off time. Finally, he gets to toss a coin to determine which team starts the play.

Responsibilities during the Game

  1. He is in Charge Of the Rules that cover all aspects of the game ranging from the match ball specifications to player equipment safety. It is the referee’s obligation to apply the laws uniformly. He can delay the start of a game until the players conform to the rules.
  2. Maintaining the Safety of Players, Fans and Team Officials with the help of assistant referees, he or she is required to ensure the safety of players, other officials and spectators. This means that he is entitled to make decisions on safety concerns about the match atmosphere or play. The options at hand are suspending the play, addressing the problem or abandoning the match. Those events interfering with the match are then recorded by the referee.
    If and when any match is canceled; the referee will need to file a full report with their association. The association will need to forward the reports to the C.M.S.A. Board of Directors.
  3. The referee is the timekeeper of a soccer game. He/she starts the game and sanctions corner kicks, goal kicks, offside, handballs, throw-ins, direct kicks and substitutions at an appropriate time. His main responsibility is to run the whole match with minimal interruptions allowed.
  4. The soccer referee enforces fair play during the game. He ensures fair play persists by discouraging unacceptable behavior through disciplinary action.
  5. He Inspects the Playing Area; The corner flags must be in place, markings on the field should be unbroken and advertising boards should be over a meter from the playing area. The responsibility of the referee extends to the crowds during the large games. His duty is to confirm that their access to the field is limited.
  6. The referee needs to follow the C.M.S.A. Standard Game Rules found in the Forms section of the website.
  7. Weather and Surrounding Environment; the referee has the responsibility of keep an eye on the surroundings and determining whether the conditions are suitable for the match to continue. He can stop or delay the game if the condition of the field is not acceptable, some fixtures get damaged during the game, the spectators interfere with the progress of the game or there are concerns about lighting storm or such hazards.
  8. Post-Game Responsibility: Record keeping; the referee is required to provide a match report to their association. The report should be a detailed documentation of incidents during the match, goals and disciplinary action (cards) taken on players and/or team officials before and during a match.
  9. The referee should never enter into any discussion with the parents or spectator. All discussion should be with the head coach of each team.