BYLAWS 11 - 18 - Conduct & Discipline

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11. Honor System

In all dealings among players, coaches, referees, and administrators, BAYS relies on the honesty and integrity of each participant. The Sportsmanship Review Committee, at its discretion, will review reported breaches of this honor system and is empowered to take appropriate corrective measures.

In particular, the honor system is used in establishing the eligibility of players. It is the final responsibility of the coach or person responsible for the team at a game to insure that all players are qualified according to the BAYS constitution, bylaws, and rules.

12. Responsibility for Teams

At each game, each team must have a qualified responsible person present who can be a coach, or someone designated to substitute for them, and whose responsibilities shall include maintaining control and discipline over the team and its spectators. The responsible person must present his/her passcard to the referee before the game commences.

If at any time during the game the team does not have a person with a valid coach’s passcard able to be responsible for the team, the game shall be abandoned and the team shall forfeit the game. In all cases the person responsible for the team must be older than the qualifying age for the team.

It shall be the sponsoring soccer organization’s responsibility to ensure that it selects coaches who are not only qualified to coach, but who are also able to promote the highest levels of good sportsmanship and are able to maintain proper control and discipline of the team and its spectators.

13. Support for Referees (Zero Tolerance Policy)

It is expected that every person responsible for a team and each and every spectator and player will support the referee. This support is essential to the proper play of the game and to the development of our players. Failure to support the referees, especially by the person (s) responsible for the team, undermines the authority of the referee, sets a bad example for everyone else, especially the players, and can rapidly lead into a hostile, negative game environment which is entirely inconsistent with the sportsmanship goals BAYS is trying to promote. Therefore, the basic rule is that persons responsible for a team and spectators will not address the referee at all during the play of the game. This prohibition, its exceptions, and the penalties for violating it, are described below.

  1. Persons Responsible for a Team
    ​With the exceptions of responding to a communication initiated by the referee, making a substitution, or pointing out an emergency safety issue, during the play of the game the persons responsible for the team should not say anything to the referee, nor should they do anything which in any way conveys any criticism of the referee. Coaches may ask questions before the start of the game. Coaches may not approach the referee at half time or at the end of the game. Coaches who have concerns about a referee’s officiating may express those concerns orally or in writing to the referee assignor and/or the BAYS Referees Representative. They may not express those concerns directly to the referee.

    BAYS recommends that the referee deal with infractions of this rule in the following manner:

    As to the first infraction, the referee should determine if the conduct involves serious misconduct under the ordinary FIFA rules. If it does, a caution (optionally showing a yellow card) or a dismissal (optionally showing a red card) should be awarded, depending on the nature of the conduct. (For example, a threat of bodily harm or an obscenity directed at the referee should result in a dismissal. A prolonged, significant outburst of dissent should result in a caution.)

    On the other hand, the first instance of a short, reasonably low-keyed referee criticism by a person responsible for the team should be ignored. The second instance should result in a warning, the third in a caution, and the fourth in an ejection. In giving the warning, the referee should make clear the next instance of dissent of any sort will result in a caution. Similarly, after a caution, the referee should make clear that the next instance of dissent of any kind will result in an ejection.

  2. Spectators
    With the exception of responding to a communication initiated by the referee or pointing out an emergency safety issue, spectators should not say anything to the referee, nor should they do anything which in any way conveys any criticism of the referee.

    BAYS recommends that the referee deal with infractions of this rule in the following manner:

    As to the first infraction, the referee should stop the game and ask the person responsible for the team to quiet the offending spectator.

    As to the second infraction, the referee should stop the game and ask the person responsible for the team to warn the spectator that the next infraction will result in the spectator leaving the game; otherwise the referee will abandon the game, and file a report with the club and BAYS. BAYS policy will be to generally impose a forfeit on the team with which the spectator is affiliated, and the referee should so inform the person responsible for that team.

    As to the third infraction, the referee should instruct the person responsible for the team to direct the spectator to leave the field. If the spectator does not leave, the referee should abandon the game, and file his/her report.

    The referee may need the assistance of the responsible persons from both teams if the spectator is not affiliated with either team.

14. Consequences of Unbecoming Conduct

If a member or members of a team, any person responsible for the team, or a team’s spectators engage in unbecoming conduct before, during, or after a game, the offenders will be subject to discipline by the Sportsmanship Review Committee.

15. Consequences of Ejection

  1. If the referee ejects a person from any game between two BAYS teams, that person will be automatically suspended from participating in the next BAYS game that his/her team actually plays. If the ejection is received during a BAYS playoff game, the person is suspended from the next BAYS playoff game. If the ejection was for violent conduct, fighting, or certain forms of serious foul play, the suspension will automatically be for two BAYS games. The ejection report and passcard (when required) shall be sent immediately to the ejection secretary; the passcard MUST be retained by the referee at the game in all circumstances. If a suspended person does participate in a game for which the suspension applies, the team will forfeit the game and this violation will be referred to the Sportsmanship Review Committee.
  2. If a person receives a second ejection during a season, the matter will be referred to the Sportsmanship Review Committee, which may subject the offender to additional discipline.
  3. If the ejection secretary considers an ejection offense to be serious, or if there are more than two ejections in a game, the ejection secretary shall refer the situation to the Sportsmanship Review Committee.
  4. To have a passcard returned, you must contact the ejection secretary immediately after all games for which the suspension applies have been completed to indicate where to mail the passcards that are to be returned. The ejection secretary will not mail any passcard until notified. A person who needs his/her passcard for activities outside the BAYS league during the period of suspension from BAYS games may make arrangements with the ejection secretary to obtain the passcard, after providing the ejection secretary with an appropriate contact for the outside activity. The ejection secretary will notify that contact of the suspension in effect in the BAYS league. It is the responsibility of the person to return the passcard to the ejection secretary immediately after the outside activity.

16. Consequences of Fracas

If a player leaves the bench area to take part in a fracas and is ejected by the referee, he shall be subject to additional discipline, by action of the Sportsmanship Review Committee.

17. Sportsmanship Review

The second vice-president will receive all referrals on sportsmanship issues, other violations of the constitution, bylaws, or rules that arise before, during, or after any BAYS games, and abandoned games requiring disposition. The second vice-president will decide if a particular issue will be reviewed; referrals will also receive a review if requested by five BAYS board members. A quorum to review a particular issue shall consist of any three members of the Sportsmanship Review Committee (SRC). The SRC may request as an advisor a certified USSF referee to be designated by the referees representative. The SRC will inform all parties involved of its decisions.

In addition to penalties specified in the constitution, bylaws, or rules, the SRC may impose such additional penalties as are judged to be appropriate to the severity of the issue, including suspension of participation, determination of forfeits, and decisions to replay games. Decisions and penalties imposed by the SRC will take effect immediately upon notification of the parties involved.

Decisions by the Sportsmanship Review Committee may be appealed only to the BAYS board of directors. Such appeals may be considered at a regular board meeting, or at a special board meeting if called by the president or at the request of five BAYS directors. The president may delay the imposition of penalties until a board meeting has been held to consider the appeal.

18. Protests

All protests prior to the Friday of the tenth scheduled week of the season shall be sent to the BAYS first vice-president, and must be postmarked or accepted within 48 hours of the game in question. Each protest must be accompanied by a protest fee of $50. The protest will be forwarded to the chairperson of the protest board. For teams in MTOC-eligible divisions, all protests starting with the Friday of the tenth scheduled week must be reported by the later of 8:00 PM or one hour following the completion of the game on the day of the protested game. For these final week protests, the protest board will meet the night of the protested game if the allowing of the protest could affect the divisional playoff pairings. The $50 fee will be hand carried to the meeting. The opposing coach and the referee must be notified at the field of the intention to protest. Failure to give this notification could lead to disallowing the protest.

The chairperson for the BAYS protest board shall establish a group of people knowledgeable about the game of soccer who will agree to be available to participate on the protest board. For a particular protest, a quorum will consist of at least three people from the protest board who are assigned by the chairperson. At least one of the assigned members must be a USSF referee. None of the people assigned for a particular protest shall have any direct interest in that protest. The chairperson shall contact all parties involved to solicit information and written materials concerning the protest, notify all parties of the protest board meeting when it is set, and see that a written decision concerning the protest is provided to all parties.

Disposition of all protests will be given within 14 days after the receipt of all required written materials, except for those protests handled under the 10th week rule, in which case disposition will be given the night of the protested game.

All actions of the protest board may be appealed to the Mass. Youth Soccer appeals board by following their procedure. The protest board chairperson will provide information on the appeal procedure to all parties in the written decision.